The Minoan Palace of Phaistos, Crete: A Journey to the Ancient Civilisation

Chrisa Lepida | Live the World

May 29, 2024

Have you ever imagined yourself walking through the ruins of an ancient civilisation, admiring the splendour of a long-lost palace? If you're passionate about history, there's no better place to visit than the Minoan Palace of Phaistos in Crete, Greece. As a Greek traveller and history buff myself, I can assure you that this destination will blow your mind and make you feel like you've stepped back in time. Let's explore the wonders of this archaeological site together.

© Istock/Stefano Barzellotti

The Minoan Civilization

The Minoan Civilization flourished in Crete between 3000 and 1100 BC. The Minoans were renowned for their advanced architecture, art, and technology. They were the first civilisation in Europe to use a written language, and they developed a sophisticated trade network that extended to Egypt, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean. Undoubtedly, they have left behind an impressive legacy, and the ruins of their palaces and cities are still standing today.

Phaistos: The Second Most Important Minoan Site

The Minoan Palace of Phaistos is located on a hill overlooking the Messara Plain in the southern part of Crete. Phaistos was one of the largest and most important cities of the Minoan Civilization, and its palace was second only to the one in Knossos, which is located in the northern part of the island. Phaistos was a major centre of trade and culture, and it played a significant role in the political and social life of the Minoan world.

© Istock/ivanoel28

The Palace of Phaistos: A Glimpse of the Past

The Palace of Phaistos is an architectural masterpiece that showcases the ingenuity and creativity of the Minoan architects and engineers. The palace was built in several phases, and it covers an area of about 8,400 square meters. It had several stories, courtyards, and rooms, including the throne room, the storerooms, the kitchens, the workshops, and the private apartments of the royal family. It also was adorned with frescoes, sculptures, and pottery, which were used for religious, social, and economic purposes.

© Istock/Arsty

5 Reasons Why You Should Visit the Minoan Palace of Phaistos

Visiting the Minoan Palace of Phaistos is a unique experience that will transport you to a different time and place. Here are some reasons why you should add this destination to your bucket list:

  1. Learn about the Minoan Civilization: The Minoan Palace of Phaistos is an open book that reveals the secrets of the Minoan Civilization. You will learn about their culture, religion, economy, and political organisation. You will also discover how they lived, worked, and interacted with each other and with other civilisations.
  1. Admire the Artistic and Architectural Achievements: Phaistos is a testament to the artistic and architectural achievements of the Minoans. You will be amazed by the beauty and sophistication of the palace's frescoes, sculptures, and pottery. You will also be impressed by the palace's engineering feats, such as the plumbing system, the drainage system, and the ventilation system.

3. Enjoy the Natural Scenery: The Minoan Palace is located in a picturesque setting, surrounded by hills, valleys, and olive groves. You will enjoy the stunning views of the Messara Plain and the Psiloritis Mountain Range. You can also take a walk in the nearby village of Agios Ioannis, where you can taste the local cuisine and interact with the friendly locals.

4. Experience the Timeless Atmosphere: The Palace exudes a timeless atmosphere that will make you feel like you're part of the ancient world. You will be mesmerized by the silence and the serenity of the place, and you will feel a sense of awe and wonder as you explore the palace's corridors and rooms. You will also have the opportunity to imagine what life was like for the Minoans and to appreciate their achievements and legacy.

  1. Connect with Your Inner Historian: Visiting the Minoan Palace of Phaistos is a great way to connect with your inner historian and satisfy your curiosity about the past. You will have the chance to ask questions, to observe, and to interpret the evidence that you see. You will also have the privilege to appreciate the continuity and diversity of human culture and to reflect on the significance of the Minoan Civilization for the history of humanity.
© Istock/mahout

Tour & Accommodation Recommendations 

If you're planning a visit to the ancient city of Phaistos, I highly recommend booking the "From Heraklion: Knossos, Gortyna, Phaistos & Zaros Bus Tour". This tour allows you to explore the most important centres of the Minoan civilization, including the Knossos Palace and the ruins of Gortyna and Phaistos. Additionally, the tour provides a stop at Gortyna and Plouti for lunch, allowing you to refuel before continuing the tour. 

When it comes to accommodation, I suggest considering either the Dimitris Villa Hotel or Matala Bay Hotel & Apartments. Both hotels offer comfortable rooms with essential amenities, and Dimitris Villa Hotel even provides excursions in air-conditioned buses for its guests. Matala Bay Hotel & Apartments features a swimming pool, restaurant, and snack bar, as well as a games room and playground for younger guests. Regardless of which hotel you choose, you'll be just a short walk from the beach and town centre, providing plenty of opportunities for exploration.

© Istock/mixmotive

The Minoan Palace of Phaistos in Crete is a destination that combines history, art, architecture, and natural beauty. It is a place that will captivate your imagination and that will leave you with unforgettable memories.

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