Gournia – its ancient name being unknown – is the most typical excavated medium – size settlement of the Minoan prosperity period (Late Minoan period: 1550-1450 B.C.) and it is well preserved, that’s why it is called “the Pompeii of the Minoan Crete”. It is built on a low hill, very near the sea, at Isthmos of Ierapetra.
The first inhabitants settled here in the Early Minoan III period (2300 B.C.). Remains of the Middle Minoan period (2000-1600 B.C.) are also preserved. The palace was built at the end of this period but was destroyed along with the surrounding city in around 1450 B.C., at the same time as the other Minoan centers. Fifty years later the site was “reoccupied” for a certain period. The settlement was finally abandoned in around 1200 b.c.