The mysterious town of


Kastrokefala settlement
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At the area of Ellinoperamata near Heraklion and at a short distance from the beach , rises the rocky steep hill of Kastrokefala. The pyramid-shaped hill raises to an altitude of 355 meters from the sea level and has breathtaking views of the beach Ellinoperamata, the village Rogdia, the once sacred volcano-like mountain Stroumboulas and the fertile plane of Heraklion.

The hill is very steep and its south side is cut abruptly by a towering cliff, which is the north wall of the gorge Almyros separating that from the hill of Keri. At the highest point of this hill, on the edge of the canyon, the Minoans built the settlement of Kastrokefala, that kept them well protected from their enemies, after the destruction of the Minoan civilization.

Kastrokefala is a typical postminoan town of the famous Dark Times of the Minoan History (i.e. 1200-1000 BC). Although it is located only 10 minutes from the city of Heraklion, it remains completely unknown to most locals. A part of the settlement has been excavated and it includes an acropolis built on the edge of the cliffs, two plateaus used for residences and a cyclopean wall, 480 meters long, 2-2.5 meters wide and 4m high, which protected the northwest side; this was the only naturally accessible part of the fortified town. The acropolis of Kastrokefala is considered the largest of the Mycenaean era in Crete.

There are too few remains today to see: some foundations of buildings and the walls. Still the views of the surrounding area and the city of Heraklion make climbing to Kastrokefala a unique experience. Apart from the ruins, the whole area of Kastrokefala is full of karst formations with many unexplored limestone sinkholes waiting for their mapping.

During your visit to this place, you will barely meet any visitors, except the countless goats which have ravaged anything that was undamaged by the passage of time. The region is actually not protected by any authority, and being among the most grazed area in Crete, has literally turned to a stony desert.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Heraklion Prefecture
  • Type: Ancient Settlement
  • Peak Period: Dark Age (1200 BC - 800 BC)
  • Accessibility: Dirt track
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