Respect to Dead

Ancient Tombs

The Cretan land is full of ancient graves, highlighting the great care of the Cretans for the dead. In the Bronze Age (6000 BC-3500 BC) the simple deposition of dead inside caves was abandoned and use of cemeteries was widespread.

During the Minoan era, in some areas of eastern Crete, including Gournia, Mochlos and Palekastro, the tombs were rectangular and could be used again for the burial of many bodies. At Chrysolakos by Malia, Palekastro, Arhanes and Platanos, archaeologists identified entire burial buildings, but the most prevalent types of tombs in Crete were vaulted (tholos) and domed. Large vaulted tombs have been identified at Kamilari, next to the monastery of Odigitria, Koumasa, Maleme, Ahladia, Stylos, Fylaki by Vamos, Margarites, Apodoulou and Gerokambos. Large cemeteries (necropoleis) of the era, with hundreds of tombs have been found at the hill of Fourni by Arhanes and at Armeni by Rethymnon.

During the Roman era, a large number of tombs were carved into the soft limestone that abounds in Crete. The most famous cemetery with carved caves of this season is Matala, where hippies lived in the 70s. Impressive carved tombs are also found at ancient Kydonia (Chania), at Trialonia, at Siderospilia by Prinias and at the lush ravine of Pente Parthenes (ancient Lappa). In particular, the area of Agios Thomas, with the tremendous carved tombs of Gra Mandra, was an important center for the worship of chthonic deities.

The largest cemetery of the Bronze Age (4500 BC-3500 BC) in Greece has been excavated at Agia Fotia by Sitia and is home to 302 graves.

Agios Thomas Roman Tombs

Agios Thomas (Saint Thomas) is one of the most impressive mountain villages of Crete. This is mainly due to the rocks of the region that are easy to carve. Excellent monuments of carved architecture travel us to ancient times with carved Minoan presses, Roman tombs and cavernous temples.


Kefala site by Trialonia

Above the scenic village of Trialonia, Kissamos district, and a little on the east, we meet the hill of Kefala. Kefala has views to all surrounding areas and hides a truly unknown treasure, a huge archaeological site which has not been protected by the Greek State and is still being destroyed.


Ancient Matala

Matala, ancient Matelon, was a port of Phaestus and Gortys and is well known for the carved caves, which were Grecoroman tombs. The cape south of Matala has been identified as the Cape Nysos and the location where the ships of Menelaus were wrecked (Odyssey).


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