Lassithi Minoan Gournia

The Ancient Minoan Site of Gournia in Lassithi, in Crete: The archaeological site of Gournia is about 20 km to the south-east of Agios Nikolaos, on the road to Ierapetra town. It got its name from Gournes, which in Greek refers to the small cisterns found next to every ancient residence, and which were apparently used to feed the domestic animals.

The place was excavated in the first years of the 20th century by the American archaeologist H. Boyd and the findings include a small palace on top of a hill, the residence of the administrator, the market and the grounds of some stone houses whose walls were 2m high. Many ceremonial items were also uncovered, apart from utensils and tools of everyday use.

All the findings make the archaeologists conclude that the economy of this town was based on cattle-breeding, agriculture, fishing, and carpentry. Many of these findings are currently exhibited in the Museum of Agios Nikolaos. The peak period of Gournia was said to be in the late Minoan times. It started to decline in about 1,450 B.C. due to a destructive fire. Today Gournia is a very interesting and well-preserved Minoan archaeological site.

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