Its history goes back as far as the Minoan period but later during the Roman occupation is when Gortys became famous and was the largest city in Crete with 300.000 inhabitants and the appointed Roman capital of the island. According to tradition, Gortys was the first city of Crete that accepted Christianity taught by Saint Titos, the first bishop of the island. The first Christian temples were built here and the remains of St. Titus basilica, one of the biggest and most important ones in Crete, can still be seen today.
Other important findings are the theatre, and the so-called “queen of the inscriptions” which is the laws of the city that formed the basis for modern Greek legislation. The Gortyn Law Code is inscripted on the circular walls of what might have been a boulletin wall or other public civic building in the agora of Gortys.
Gortys maintained its glory until 828 AD when it was occupied and destroyed by the Saracen pirates. Since then it was never inhabited again.