Ancient Levina was situated at the place where
there is now the small scenic fishermen village of Lentas, 75 kilometres
far from Heraklion at the Southeast, on the Libyan sea; the site was
the port of Gortys. Access from Heraklion is possible by public bus and
rented or private cars and motorbikes.
The site was inhabited for the first time during the end of the Neolithic
and the Early Minoan periods (3rd millennium b.C.). By the end of the
Classic Period ( early 4th century b.C), Gortys has contructed a temple
of Asclepius at Levina.
The town collapsed almost totally by the destructive earthquake of 46
b.C., but soon it had been inhabited again; during the Early Christian
and the following Byzantine periods it was a small settlement; the Early
Christian basilica is dated to this period. In the 14th century it was
constructed the small church of Aghios Ioannis (St. John).
The first archaeological excavations on the site took place after the
mid-19th century; the excavation were conducted by the Italian Archaeological
School and continued up to 1913, when came to light the sanctuary and
the other buildings.
Ever since, excavations of the space beyond the ancient town, revealed
the Minoan settlement and several burials.
The most important monuments and architectural complexes preserved on
the site are:
the Temple of Asclepius: the ruins the visitor sees today are of the
temple of the 1st-2nd century A.D.; the temple is located at the Southeastern
edge of the open space of the sanctuary; the walls of the temple are
preserved up to a height of 3,40 meters, with with slabs of marble and
beautiful mosaic floors to decorate it. After the temple was abandonned,
the destroyed parts of it (marbles and architectural members) were used
as building material for the Early Christian Basilica.
The so-called "Thesaurus" is a building of the Hellenistic times (3rd
century b.C.), much earlier than the temple and the western stoa (gallery),
also paved with mosaics.
The ruins of a big three-aisled Basilica, dated befor the 9th century
At the nearby low hill of Angynaropapouro, it has been detected a Early
Minoan settlement, dated to 2600-2000 b.C.
Been found under the Basilica of Aghios Ioannis (St. John).