Hersonissos keeps the name of the ancient city that was located in the place that the harbour of Hersonisos is today. The village of Old Hersonisos, located within a small distance to the south was built due to the fear of the pirates, that forced the inhabitants of the village to move in the inland.In the site that the harbour of Hersonissos is built today, there was the city of ancient Hersonissos (or Heronissos).The city was first built during the Minoan times but experienced great prosperity during Roman and early Byzantine period. The Roman Hersonissos had wonderful marble waterfalls, theater.Remnants of this period can be seen today in the area of Kastri, on a promontory where excavations have revealed an early Christian basilica. The 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 on port and the port 's Akropolis (dominating hill)where a palaiochristianic basilica church is found.City followed the rest of Crete in its faith of conquerers.Venetians,Turks left their mark on the area.The port was called Porto Tigani and sheltered many middle age boats even after city shrinked to a few living houses.City died slowly out because of Saracen and other pirates looting the coastal area and cities.Was profound that people sheltered high on the mountain slopes with enough time to react on eminent pirate attacks.That is how the town of Old Hersonissos was built.Is called old nowadays because the port was almost abandoned and evolved on a small fishing village,untill after the 1950's when some interest grown on its tourist hosting capabilities.There are many excavations going on that revealed beautiful mosaics,building remnants and pottery.There is no organized archaelogical site but one can admire findings scattered through the area.(see map).Many more archaeological sites are on neighbouring Malia and Heraklion.(links).Map on bottom of page offers an overview of found items and their location.
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