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Ancient Levena

  • Ancient Levena


About Ancient Levena

Lendas is situated on the location of the ancient city Levina, 74km south of Heraklion, on the southern slopes of the magnificent Asterousia Mountains. The name Levina is thought to originate from the Phoenician “Lavi,” meaning Lion. In fact, there is a cape to the west of the village that resembles a lion’s head from a distance. According to legend, this is one of the lions that pulled the chariot of goddess Rhea, the mother of Zeus, which turned to stone at this spot. Additionally, another version suggests that the name comes from the Phoenician word “levina,” meaning white, which describes the whitish color of the rocks in the area. The current name Lendas is derived from the word “Leondas,” which means lion in Greek. The cape, also known as Lion, is a protected archaeological site. By walking for 15 minutes, you can reach its peak and enjoy a stunning sunset.

Firstly-minoan graves and a settlement have been uncovered at this site. The settlement had connections with Egypt. The ancient city of Levina thrived in the Hellenistic and Roman Era as a harbor of Gortys, which was then the most powerful town in Crete.

To the east of Lentas, there is a spring of water believed to have healing properties. Even today, studies have shown that the water is beneficial for stomach ailments, blood issues, and bleeding tendencies. As a result, a massive temple was built, dedicated to the deified doctor Asclepius and Hygeia Sotira (4th century AC). The temple was famous as a center for hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, and psychiatry. Patients from distant areas, such as Libya, visited this place. From the temple, you can still see the altar, two marble columns, and the base of a statue of Asclepius. On the site of the Early Christian Basilica of Lendas, a Byzantine church was built using materials from the sanctuary, dedicated to Agios Ioannis Theologos. Remains of Roman baths have been discovered in the area of the springs.

Levina appears to have been abandoned in the 7th-8th century, possibly due to constant pirate raids.

Categories & Tags

  • Archaeological Sites

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