Messara Plain

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View of Messara from the hill of Phaestus

The Messara Plain or simply Messara (Greek: Μεσσαρά) is an illuvial plain in southern Crete, stretching about 50 km west-to-east and 7 km north-to-south, making it the largest plain in Crete.

On a hill at its west end are the ruins of Phaestus,[1] near the middle are the ruins of the ancient city of Gortys.

Since 1500 BC the plain has grown up to 6 km due to a buildup of illuvial sediment. Clays from Messara have been found to be the source of significant amounts of Minoan pottery; soil and rock types from the fringes of Messara, particularly the foothills of the Asterousia Mountains at the south and the foothills to the north within the Psiloritis Mountains.[2]

In the Messara, olive trees, vineyards and horticultural crops are grown here. Part of the products grown here are placed on the domestic market. Α substantial part of the produced olive oil is then exported to European markets. The Messara Plain is also home to the indigenous Messara horse.[3][4][5]


  1. "Phaistos".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Joseph W. Shaw, A Lm Ia Ceramic Kiln in South-Central Crete: Function and Pottery Production, 2001, ASCSA, 172 pages ISBN 0-87661-530-2
  3. Hendricks, Bonnie. International Encyclopedia of Horse Breeds. University of Oklahoma Press, 1996, p. 283. ISBN 0-8061-2753-8.
  4. Jasper Nissen: Enzyklopädie der Pferderassen. Franckh-Kosmos Verlags GmbH & Co, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-440-09723-4 (German)

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