Gortys (Gortyna) was an extremely important city during the early christrian period till the Arab conquest. According to tradition, Gortyna was the first city of Crete to accept Christianity. It was the see of the Apostle Titus, first bishop of Crete, whose name bears the basilica. There are many important early Christian monuments inside the archaeological site of Gortyna, which covers a rather large area.
In 1884 the Italian archaeologists Halbherr and Fabricius started the excavations in this site. The Italian Archaeological School continues up to this day the excavatory research under the supervision of the Greek Archaeological Service. During these years, the excavatory research has brought to light a monumental early christian basilica near the archaeological site. The excavations of the 13th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities uncover an early christian tetraconch Baptistery.
The most important monuments of the archaeological site are:
St Titus' s church. It is a cross - shaped three - aisled Basilica with cupola; the northern and the southern arm of the cross end up in conchs. The church was built with rectangular hewn stones and is dated in the 7th century A.D. The church was restored after the recapture of Crete the 10th century.
Triconch church founded probably over the tomb of the Ten Cretan Martyrs. The church' s narthex communicates through a tribelon with the central rectangular part of the church. The mosaic floor and the remaining capitals are exquisite. The church is dated in the 5th century.