In 961 the Byzantine General and later Emperor Nikephoros Focas liberated Crete from the Saracens corsairs who for 136 years looted the Greek coasts and converted Candia (Heraklion) to their most dangerous base. With the fear that pirates will return to plunder the coastal towns again, he chose a fortified hillside far away from the sea to transfer the island's capital that had been destroyed.
At a dominant place, with panoramic view, surrounded by fertile valleys, was built the largest Byzantine fortress on Crete "The Temenos”. In a massive rocky hill with two peaks was founded the fortress of the Temenos, where transfered the population of Candia and the surrounding villages that were sheltered from the battles. Later, the Venetians named the hill "Rocca", which means strong rock, and the province around Heraklion was named "Temenos Province".