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At a glance

The palace of Malia is the third largest palace in Crete, after the ones of Knossos and Phaistos. The Minoan city extended around the palace. The archaeological site is located on the northern coast of eastern Crete, near the modern town of Malia. The ancient name of the Minoan city remains unknown. Nonetheless, it has been suggested that this was the site of Milatos, with Sarpedon as king, son of Zeus and Europa and younger brother of Minos.


The palace was first built in 1900 BC on a site where earlier habitation (from the middle of the 3rd millennium BC) has been identified. It was destroyed in 1700 BC along with the other palatial centers. It was rebuilt around 1650 BC on the same site, only to be destroyed again in 1450 BC by fire.

Most of the ruins visible today belong to the Νeopalatial complex, while part of the first palace survives to the north-west of the complex. Ostraka (potsherds) found in the area attest to the human presence during the Neolithic period.

The first excavation in the area of the palace was carried out by Iosif Chatzidakis in 1915, who was forced to stop his research due to lack of funding. The discovery of the palace and a large part of the city is mainly due to the French Archaeological School. Excavations are still going on nowadays.

Must see

At the site of Chrysolakkos, 500 m northeast of the palace, a large Paleopalatial necropolis was excavated, a burial complex with rectangular small spaces that served as burial chambers. In one of these spaces, the famous pendant with the two bees was found, which is now housed in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion.


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