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Ancient Matala

Place description

Matala, originally known as Matelon, functioned as a port for Phaestus and Gortyn and is famous for its carved caves, which were used as graves during the Grecoroman era. The cape to the south of Matala has been identified as Cape Nysos, the site where Menelaus’ ships were wrecked, as mentioned in the Odyssey.

Excavations in the 1980s at the archaeological site near the village, which was the heart of the ancient town, revealed large buildings and workshops for metallurgy, pottery, and woodworking. The town appeared to have thrived from the 6th century BC until the 7th century AD but was never deserted.

Remnants of an ancient temple can be found southeast of the village, and a marble urn was discovered near the beach of Matala. The town’s acropolis was situated on a nearby hilltop, where a Turkish tower, known as a koules, was later constructed.

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