The ancient town of


Ancient Rizinia at Prinias
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Over the hill Patella near the village Prinias in Malevizi province stands the picturesque chapel of Saint Panteleimon with amazing views towards all directions. Patela is the site of the Minoan town Rizinia or Apollonia, which prospered till the Roman period. The excavations of the Italian Archaeological School unearthed a small fort of the 5th century BC with metal weaponry. Moreover, the excavations revealed two temples of the 7th century BC (one was probably dedicated to Rhea) and a temple dedicated to the Minoan Goddess of Snakes.

Among the findings there was a frieze with horsemen, deer and panthers, two seated statues of goddesses and pottery sherds that verify the worship of Athena in the 2nd BC century. Also important for the identification of the city as Rizinia was an inscription found with the letters (I)ZENIA(A), also mentioned on inscriptions at Gortyn. Rizinia offered animals for sacrifice to the Idaean cave every four years.

On the hill of the ancient city leads a road from Prinias and then a short uphill path. The area, which occupies quite a large area, is an extensive archaeological site. Almost across the road, a cemetery has been located, while on the road to the village Asites we find the caves Siderospilies (Iron Caves), which are the tombs of the Roman era carved in the soft limestone. Underneath the Patella it is worth visiting the carved wine presses at Patitiria, the waterfall of Patella, as well as the special rock formations called Grias Pites.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Heraklion Prefecture
  • Type: Ancient City, Tombs
  • Peak Period: Minoan Era (3000 BC-1200 BC), Classical & Hellenistic Age (800 BC - 69 BC)
  • Accessibility: Paved road

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