Lentas is a small village in the municipality Gortynas of the prefecture Heraklion. At the cape Lentas there is a huge rock, which reaches to the sea and looks like a lion's head, (the name “Lentas” comes from the Greek word “Leo” that means lion). According to the ancient mythology this was one of the lions that pulled the chariot of the goddess Hera. That is why the ancient city was called Levin hereafter named Lentas. Lentas is 70 km away from Heraklion.
The village is located around a beautiful bay. Just like many other coastal villages, Lentas originally was a typical Cretan fishing village. As travelers slowly began to discover the area, tourist activities started in the region.
The name is pre-Hellenic and derives from the Phoenician Lavi = lion from or the ancient pre-Hellenic word Levynthos. According to legend, one of the lions that drew the chariot of the goddess Hera became stone in this position and for this reason the village was named Levin. The most possible explanation for the name is from the adjacent cape that resembles a lion when you look from a specific location.
Recent excavations of Stylianos Alexiou discovered Early Minoan settlement dating from 2.500- 1.900 b.c., who had trade relations with Egypt. The Levin flourished in Greco-Roman years, as the port of Gortynas and as a holy city where Asclepius and Health were worshiped. The Asklepieion was in its heyday during the years of imperial Rome.
The oldest monument of Levinos is the Treasure, which is a square deep well 1,090 m. dating from the 2nd or possibly the 1st century BC. At the depth of the temple of Asklepios preserved altar, which were originally placed statues of Asclepius and Hygeia.
Today you may find the ruins of this majestic sanctuary, and recent excavations in the village bear witness to an ancient civilization.
Lentas today is a popular tourist destination, with agricultural and livestock activities. The village has all the amenities you may need during your stay, taverns, right on the beach, bar, mini market, and even an internet café.
There is sandy / pebbles and the sea is crystal clear and ideal for snorkelling. On the other side of the "Lion" is another big pebble beach, the tablet, popular with nudists, which you can reach on foot in about ten minutes.
Lendas is the ideal location for those who just want to escape from their daily routine, while the most difficult decisions when staying in Lentas is where and what to eat every day!
However, Lentas is an excellent base for those really want to discover a little more of the "real" Crete and the richness and diversity of steep landscapes that abound in all directions.
If you really want to visit Lentas during a visit in this diverse and surprising island head to the hills of the valley of Messara.
The road climbs up between the mountains and then descends towards the sea between the hills are picturesque villages that survive, for centuries from farming the fertile region. As you leave the valley, leaving behind the last village, Lentas, located almost in the center of the southern coast of Crete, suddenly appears in front of you.
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