In a few ancient sites in Crete one has the feeling that even today the history of the Minoans continues and that the Cretans today are the descendants of people living 3000 years ago. Few places as Tylissos have kept their name from the ancient times for thousands of years.But if one stands in the ancient site of Tylissos and discovers at 50m distance inhabited houses, one gets aware of the direct succession.
The ancient city of Tylissos flourished particularly during the Minoan and Greco-Roman periods.
Its geographical location on the roads leading from Knossos to western Crete as well as the inland area and Mount Ida (Psiloritis) helped in the development of the city. Tylissos was one of Minoan Crete’s leading cities, and maintained close ties with Knossos.
Three residential complexes were excavated,
the so-called houses A, B, and C, whose main parts are dated to the Neopalatial period 1700-1450 BC. Their interiors were luxurious, as shown by fragments of frescoes discovered in excavations. A miniature fresco done in the same style as the well-known Crowd Scene Fresco from Knossos is a characteristic, though fragmentary example. The discovery of various luxury items such as bronze figurines of worshippers, an obsidian Rhyton, seal stones and other finds, give us the impression of a city with a high standard of living.
Around 1200-1000 BC many settlements and cemeteries in Crete were abandoned and new settlements were founded at inaccessible and remote sites.
Tylissos, however, was an exception, since habitation continued and it appears that a religious center developed there. A larger altar, inscriptional testimony and finds show the city’s continuity in later times.
(source: archaeological receipts fund)
Ground plans of ancient Tylissos (as given by the Greek ministry of culture)
Our tip: To reach the village Tylissos, you can leave your vehicle in the parking lot of the ancient site; the narrow pavement-covered streets of the old village center are only a few meters away.
In the village Tylissos
Whether the friendly grocer in the village Tylissos, from whom I bought a small bottle of water, who recognized my striking resemblance to his cousin (?) living in Athens and then gave me a liter homemade Raki, was a descendant of the Minoan population of this place? Who knows, and he himself will not know either.
The village is traditionally placed around it’s old village square with a beautiful fountain, a lot of small and cobblestone paved alleys invite for a stroll. Of course there is a Kafeneion and a café to hang out. I have not seen traces of tourism, not even one souvenir shop. How wonderful.