This page contains information about some Roman archaeological remains in Chersonissos, Crete. Chersonissos is on the north coast of the island, to the east of Heraklion. The ruins have been described by V. Sythiakaki in the book "Hersonissos" (Limani Chersonissos 1993). The photographs were taken in May 2007 by Jan Theo Bakker (all photographs are in the public domain).
On the Tabula Peutingeriana (part X) the Roman settlement is called Cresonesso. That is a variant of Chersonesos, meaning "peninsula". Hence the modern Greek name of the city, Chersonissos, and of the harbour of this city, Limenas Chersonisou (limenas meaning "harbour"). A bishop of the city was present at the Council of Ephesos of 431 AD. The bishop is mentioned again in a letter from 457/8 AD. At the end of the fifth century the city was partly destroyed by an earthquake, and a tsunami came 200 metres landinwards. The rebuilding of the late fifth and early sixth century included christian churches. The city was abandoned at the end of the seventh century, after raids by Arab pirates.
A great variety of ancient buildings and structures has been found:
- A nymphaeum
- Moles of the harbour
- The basilica of Agios Nikolaos
- The basilica on the cliff Kastri
- The basilica of Piskopiano
- Workshops (including a bakery)
- Two baths
- The forum
- The theater (a few remains of which can still be seen)
- An aqueduct (remains of which can be seen in the hills)
- Two burial places
Below is a general plan of the area. Click here for a detailed plan of Limenas Chersonisou (from Sythiakaki 1993).
From Sythiakaki 1993.
Further reading: J. Leatham - S. Hood, "Sub-marine exploration in Crete", Annual of the British School at Athens 53-54 (1958-1959), 173-284; I.F. Sanders, Roman Crete, 1982.
[jthb - 26-Dec-2007]