The beautiful island of Crete is famous not only for its beaches, its hospitable people, its healthy and delicious food, but also for its remarkable historical past. In a comfortable way, one can listen to the history of the island by visiting ancient palaces of this place.
Southeast of Heraklion, 5 kilometers away, is the Minoan palace of Knossos, which covers an area of about 15 square kilometers. It is the first and the most important Minoan palace in Crete and is built right on the Kefalas hill. The choice of the area is not at all accidental, since it was chosen for its strategic location and the abundance of advantages it had. King Minos lived there, always according to tradition. Around 1300 BC the palace was destroyed by fire and was never restored. It ceased to be inhabited until it was discovered in 1900 AD by Arthur Evans. Today, visitors can admire the Minoan workshops and warehouses on the eastern side of the archaeological site, while on the western side, they can tour the religious and royal rooms and enjoy a close-up view of the "throne room".
The equally important Minoan palace, located about 63 kilometres southwest of the city of Heraklion, is where King Minos' brother Minos lived. The palace was built twice, the second being destroyed by the volcano of Santorini. It is particularly important for any visitor to observe the methods the Cretans followed to build their palaces, and how their economy was linked to religion.
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In the eastern part of the island, in the prefecture of Lasithi, about 39 kilometres away from Sitia, lies the palace of Zakros. It was one of the four administrative centres of Minoan Crete and was built in an area that was a particularly important location for Minoan trade. It extended over 8,000 square metres and contained 180 rooms. Today, the ruins of the palace are highly visible, making it very popular with tourists, while a blue sandy beach with blue waters surrounds the area
The area of Malia is well known and particularly well visited. Anyone who finds himself in the settlement, it is worth admiring a two-storey palace, which was used as a rural villa, while it was built around the period when the palaces of Knossos, Phaistos and Zakros were built. Several finds from this site, such as the exquisite gold jewellery of bees and the marble sarcophagus with reliefs, have been transferred as exhibits to the Heraklion Archaeological Museum.