The Minoan settlement of

Psira
islet

Psira Islet
(4 votes)

Psira is a small uninhabited islet located 1 mile north of Tholos beach, situated at the northeastern edge of the Gulf of Mirabello. In Psira a Minoan settlement of 15-20 acres has been found, being one of the most important sites in Crete. The name Psira means Louse in Greek and is taken after the shape of the island, reminiscent of the homonym insect. It is remarkable that in close distance (opposite Pahia Ammos) there is a small island that the locals call Konida (i.e. nits - lice eggs) and in Mochlos there is another islet named Psilos (flea)!

The most important attraction of Psira, as already mentioned, are the ruins of the small Minoan town that flourished between 1700BC-1450BC on a small peninsula on the south coast. The town, although quite small, was inhabited by families of merchants, craftsmen, fishermen and sailors who were all wealthy and maintained contacts with the Mediterranean. Probably they were engaged in the trade of the purple dye, like the Isle of Lefki.

The first excavations at Psira were carried out by the group of the American archaeologist Richard Seager in 1908. The archeological site consisted of houses, square, temple, cemetery and no palace was found. The rich discoveries that have come to light indicate that the residents of Psira were rich. Among them stand out: a jar decorated with heads of cattle and olive branches and a mural with two debating Minoan women who are dressed with impressive dresses. Also, around Psira there are several ancient shipwrecks, which have attracted many divers looking for antiquities (illegally).

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Additional Info

  • Location: Lassithi Prefecture
  • Type: Ancient Settlement
  • Peak Period: Minoan Era (3000 BC-1200 BC)
  • Accessibility: Boat

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