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Mochlos Archaeological Ruins

Place description

The small islet Scoglio de Muflo, also known as Psilos (meaning flea), is located opposite the island of Mochlos and was a significant commercial center and port from antiquity until the Byzantine Era. To the west lies a larger island called Psira (meaning lice), and another islet called Konida (meaning lice egg or nit) can be found opposite Pahia Ammos. Additionally, the island is sometimes referred to as Agios Nikolaos due to the picturesque chapel of Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors.

The islet of Mochlos is a designated archaeological site that continues to be excavated. The prosperity of ancient Mochlos was abruptly interrupted when the island became separated from Crete’s mainland. In the past, the island was actually the tip of a narrow peninsula, which formed two natural harbors. In the current sea area between the island and the mainland, where the depth does not exceed 2.5 meters, traces of Roman buildings have been discovered.

Since 3650 BC, the island has been inhabited and thrived during the Minoan era due to its natural harbor and surrounding fertile plain, which provided strong advantages in a region with stormy seas and rugged mountains. Mochlos imported obsidian from Milos and raw materials from the East, with which it had close trade relations. Although the settlement was destroyed by the eruption of the Santorini volcano, it was eventually rebuilt. During Roman times, Ierapytna controlled Mochlos and fortified it against enemy attacks. The island continued to flourish until the Byzantine era when, like all coastal areas of Crete, it was abandoned due to pirate raids.

Many tombs from all periods of the Minoan era have been discovered, containing important artifacts such as seals, golden jewelry, pottery, steatite vases, axes, and a jewelry storage box with a knife in the shape of a dog. The most significant find was a golden ring depicting a nude goddess sitting on a peculiar ship, having left a small house on the rocky coast. Additionally, an entire area with workshops, known as the “neighborhood of artisans“, was found where gold jewelry, gems, and stone vessels were produced.

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