The port town of
Chersonissos (Limin Hersonisos) keeps the name of the ancient city that was located in
the place that the harbour of Limin Hersonisos is today.
Chersonissos is in fact
the greek word meaning 'peninsula'. The city was first built during the Minoan
times and experienced great prosperity during the Roman and early Byzantine
period. The Roman Hersonissos had wonderful marble waterfalls. Remnants of
this period can be seen today in the area of Kastri, on a
promontory where excavations have revealed an early Christian basilica.
ancient city of Hersonissos was irrigated by an aqueduct, ruins of which can be
found today at Xerokamares, at the village of Potamies.
Byzantine era marks on the city are mostly found on port and at the port 's
Akropolis (dominating hill) where a palaiochristianic basilica church is found.
Hersonisos followed the rest of Crete in its faith of conquerors in which
Venetians and Turks left their mark on the area. The port was called Porto
Tigani and sheltered many middle age boats even after the city shrank to a few
inhabited houses. Its gradual demise came about from Saracen and other pirates
looting the coastal area and cities.
As a result, the city relocated inland on
the hilltop but within a small distance to the south of the port. It was built
there because people who had a fear of the pirates, sheltered high on the
mountain slopes with enough time to react on eminent pirate attacks. Today, it's
referred to as Old Hersonisos because the port town was almost
abandoned and only evolved into a small fishing village.
Present day Limin
Hersonisos didn't see growth until after the 1950's when some interest grew on
its tourist hosting capabilities. There have been many excavations taking place
that have revealed beautiful mosaics, building remnants and pottery. There is no
organized archaeological site but one can admire findings scattered throughout
the area. Many more archaeological sites are located in neighbouring Malia