Gortyna or “Gortyn” in Crete was an ancient settlement originally founded in approximately 3000 BC, during the Neolithic era. However, it was during the Roman era, from around the first to the fifth centuries AD, that Gortyna flourished, with a population of up to 100,000 people.
During the Roman period, Gortyna was the capital city of Crete and a number of important temples and buildings were built here, the remains of which can still be seen today. The Temple of Pythian Apollo is a particularly notable ruin, whose outline is identifiable as is its stepped altar.
Gortyna’s former prosperity is evident throughout this site, especially in the inscription of its Gortyn Law Code on the Odeon building, dating back to the sixth century BC and which is the longest of its kind.
Gortyna was also an important Christian site. The ruin of the seventh century Basilica of St Titus marks it as such and is a reminder of the rich history of this site. Destroyed by the Saracens in 824 AD, Gortyna is now an archaeological site.