Anoula’s travel notebook.
The four main archaeological sites on the Island of Crete are:
- Knossos, the most famous one, is close to Heraklion (about 5km). This site was digged in and discovered by the British, Arthur Evans, from 1900 to 1905. We could blame Evans for his will to reconstruct the palace, ‘built by Daedalus’, in a fake way, which gives the site its kitsch part. Take a good guidebook, if you want to complete the very few information that you can find on the site.
- Phaistos, one of the oldest Minoan Palace, is situated in the North-East of Matala. Even if you won’t find more information than in Knossos, the site is more comprehensible when you look at it at first sight, much more spred out, hung on a hill with a view on the pretty valley of Messara.
- Mallia is situated towards Agios Nicholaos, and was built around 2000 B. C., it is one of the big cities of the Minoan civilization. You can find more information about the site in an exhibition room than on the previous sites.
- Kato Zakros, in the East of the Island, about 25km from the South of Palekastro, again a Minoan Palace, the last one of the four big palaces discovered in Crete. This site is at the end of a huge gorge called Valley of the Dead (see the hiking rubric), the landscape around the site looks like a little paradise when the tourists coaches leave the place.These four palaces have similar features. It exists many other archaeological sites in Crete, but smaller, you can find them each time you go for a walk and you can discover them as you want because they are left without any attention.
Be careful, respect all these non-protected sites and preserve them, they are part of the Cretan culture.