Cretan History

Dark Age

Post Minoan settlement of Fortezza at Andrianos
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Above the steep gorge of Adrianos in the province of Mirabello rises the rocky outcrop of Fortezza. This inhospitable, steep and naturally fortified rock was chosen by the deposed Minoans to form a small town during the so-called Dark Period, that is, after the destruction of the Minoan civilization after the 12th century BC. The reasons that led thousands of the Minoans to the most inaccessible Cretan mountains have not yet been identified, but seem to be linked to the fear against an enemy, probably the Dorians.

To the south of the site there are still the terraces, which restrained the soil from collapsing, for the cultivation of cereals. The same terraces have been used by the residents of Adrianos for many centuries. Water was supplied from the springs of the canyon. The main buildings of the settlement were located on the large plateau near the peak and today few remains are visible.

The hill is protected from all sides by cliffs, except to the south, where the terraces can be seen, from which access was possible. A wall was built to protect the settlement from this side, traces of which can be seen even today.

Traces of a wall of later period prove that Fortetsa functioned as a fortress even later. Because of this wall, the rock was called fortezza, that is a latin word for fortress.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Lassithi Prefecture
  • Type: Ancient Settlement
  • Peak Period: Dark Age (1200 BC - 800 BC)
  • Accessibility: Walking

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