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Kommos beach and arch. site
Messara Bay, Iraklion
at 0km (N)
One of the most beautiful sandy beaches of Crete, extends from a clump of rocks riveted in the shallow waters in the south to the Kalamaki settlement in the North. In Minoan times there used to be the ancient port of Phaistos. The antiquities lie just a few meters away from the sea.
Kalamaki village & beach
Messara bay, Iraklion South
at 1.8km (N)
A small coastal village with a long sandy beach is becoming very popular with tourists due both its natural beauty and its proximity to Phaistos, Gortys and other important sites. There are quite few hotels, apartments etc and taverns, cafes by the beach.
Messara, Iraklion South
at 1.9km (E)
The village of Pitsidia is located 65 km southwest of Iraklion at an altitude of 80 m a.s.l, just before the magnificent bay of Messara. The village with aproximately 700 inhabitants is the oldest village of the area and is refered (by S. Spanakis) that it was the place where the soldiers of Nikiforos Fokas, commander of the Byzantine army, settled. The army, famous for its bravery, came from Pisidia of the south Asia Minor, and this is probably the origin of the name Pitsidia.
Messara, South - West Iraklion
at 2.2km (S)
Matala (GR: Μάταλα) was the ancient port of Phaistos and Gortys and a former fishing community which has developed into a modern holiday center. It is located 4 km south-west of the village of Pitsidia and 75 km from Iraklion. It is built on the coast line of the Messara bay inside a small and picturesque inlet. During the 60's the caves of Matala were hosting a hippie commune.
Die Zwei Bruder Pension & Villas for rent
at 2.3km (SW)
We at Die Zwei Brueder (The Two Brothers) offer you nice, clean rooms. Although it's only two minutes walk to the beach or to the village, the pension's unique high placing guarantees you peace whenever you want it. Also help with information and car rentals to our customers.
Find also villas for rent in the area. Villas Panorama and Peristeri are situated in the village of Pitsidia very close to Matala, Kommos and Kalamaki. They offer high standards' accommodation and one has its own swimming pool.
Matala, South - West Iraklion
at 3km (S)
The Red beach is located around 700m south from Matala. It is a beautiful secluded beach with fine reddish sand originating from the rocks of the area. The name "Red Beach" is given by the visitors due to its reddish color while its original name is Ammoúdia (GR: Αμμούδια). The sea gets a lovely blue-green color, making the landscape really unique. The only way to access Red Beach is on foot or by boat from Matala. The walk from Matala takes about 20 minutes and it can't be considered as an easy one. Red Beach however can get pretty crowded in the high season. There is a small stone-wall canteen offering snacks and drinks and a few umbrellas and sun-beds.
Nudism is tolerated at the two ends of the beach.
Messara, Iraklion South
at 3.6km (NE)
Kamilari is a quiet, traditional village, with a panoramic view to the endless olive groves of the Messara valley on the one side, and to the Libyan sea on the other side. It has been inhabited since the Minoan period. One of the seven wise men of the ancient world, Epimenidis, a great wise man and a soothsayer, lived in a small community outside Kamilari, called Metohi.
Messara, Iraklion South
at 4.4km (E)
Its 1000 years history comes to life for the visitor, who has the chance to admire its monuments, and old houses, perfectly preserved through the centuries. In the village square , you can sit and enjoy your coffee in the traditional coffee shop, while children can play in the playground next to the school. You can also visit the church of Agios Ioannis in the same square. There are quite few rooms for rent in the village and tavernas serving traditional Cretan dishes.
Messara plain, South - East Iraklion
at 5.5km (SE)
The monastery of Odigitria is a monastery of great importance and historical value and one of the oldest in Crete. It is located at the west edge of the Asterousia mountains at an altitude of 250 m.
The monastery was surrounded by walls, part of them still stands. The temple of the monastery is dedicated to the assumption of Holly-Mother and to the Saint Apostles (Peter & Paul). Inside the temple there are valuable frescoes, icons of famous painters and iconostasis.
The monastery is connected with the legendary freedom fighter 'Ksopateras' (1788 - 1828)
In the area of the monastery at Agioi Eftihianoi was found an ancient (Early Minoan) cemetery.
Agia Triada Arch. Site
Archaeological Site in Messara, S-W Iraklion
at 5.9km (NE)
The "Royal Villa" at Ayia Triada which is situated very close to Phaistos, was built in about 1550 BC. i.e. just before the new palace at Phaistos, and was destroyed by fire in l450 BC, like all other important Minoan centres. It succeeded the first palace at Phaistos as the economic and administrative centre of the regions depriving the new palace there of this role, and appears to have had connections with Knossos. The two wings, with an open-air space between them, consisted of groups of interconnecting rooms (polythyra), storerooms and stairways. On the site of the ruins, a Mycenaean megaron, the so-called "Agora" and an open - air shrine were subsequently built.
In the villa's disaster layer from the fire in 1450 BC, excavation revealed a valuable group of exceptional works of art, precious materials, records in Minoan script and seals. The famous black serpentine vessels, the "Harvesters' Vase", the "Boxers' Vase" and the "Chieftain ‘ s Cup", the wall paintings depicting the natural landscape, the sarcophagus, the bronze and clay figurines of worshipers and the copper ingots from the Treasury are among the most noteworthy findings.
Agios Georgios Phalandras
at 6.2km (NE)
The church of Agios Georgios (St. George GR: Αγιος Γεώργιος) Phalandras stands a little to the south from the Palace of Phaistos on the road to Agios Ioannis village. The church was the monastery church of the Orthodox male monastery of the same name, dated to the early Venetian period (16th century), which operated normally until its dissolution in 1821. The ruins of the fortified building complex around the church were still visible until the first decades of the 20th century.
Found at Phaistos Palace
at 6.4km (NE)
The disc of Phaistos is the most important example of hieroglyphic inscription from Crete and was discovered around 1903-05 in a small room near the depositories of the "archive chamber", in the north - east apartments of the palace, together with a Linear A tablet and pottery dated to the beginning of the Neo-palatial period (1700- 1600 B.C.).
The disc of Phaistos can be seen at the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion.
Palace and Archaeological Site
at 6.5km (NE)
The archaeological site, the palace, the findings - The Festos Disc. According to mythology, Phaistos (or Festos) was the seat of king Radamanthis, brother of king Minos. It was also the city that gave birth to the great wise man and soothsayer Epimenidis, one of the seven wise men of the ancient world.Excavations by archaeologists have unearthed ruins of the Neolithic times (3.000 B.C.).
at 6.5km (NE)
The Upper Court is the first of the three courts in the West Wing of the Palace. Its south side is supported by a strong retaining wall separating it from the West Court. On the west side, the 17 circular recesses in the ground indicate the presence of an equal number of wooden columns which probably supported a covered colonnade. The court is crossed from north to south by a raised "Processional Causeway", which, like those of the other palaces, would have been used for sacred processions and other rituals. The Upper Court also functioned as a kind of balcony from which one could watch the events taking place in the West Court, which is just to the south and on a lower level. The two courts are linked by a majestic staircase starting in the southeast part of the Court.
The buildings on the south side of the court were built much later, in Hellenistic times (323-67 BC), when the palaces had already beendestroyed. The most important of these contains a room with two columns, a central hearth and stone benches around the walls. It isbelieved to be a public building, probably a Prytaneion or Andreion.Early Christian tombs (330-600 AD) can be seen east of the "Processional Causeway"
West Court - Theatral Area
at 6.5km (NE)
The large paved West Court, in front of the facade and the central entrance to the Palace complex, dates from the time of the Old Palace (1900 - 1700 BC) and played an important part in the lives of its inhabitants.
On the north it is bounded by a high which also supports the Upper Court, which is on a higher level. At the foot of the wall are eight wide steps which formed the seats of what may be called a theatral area. As with the corresponding "Theatre" of Knossos, from here spectators would have watched the religious events and festivals taking place in the court. The West Court is crossed by a raised "Processional Causeway" similar to that of the Upper Court, which continues up the steps of the Theatral Area.
During the time of New Palate the West Court was widened and raised to a higher level, so only 4 of its 8 steps remained visible. After the reduction of the Theatral Area, the great staircase must have been used as an additional theatral area for the events and ceremonies held in the West Court.
at 6.5km (NE)
The south end of the West Court is occupied by four large stone-built structures known as "Kouloures" (rings) ,belonging to the Old Palace complex. The workmen on Evans' excavation gave them their name when they were first discovered at Knossos. Similar pits were also later discovered at the Palace of Malia. Their exact use is unknoun, although today they are generally regarded as depositories for offerings from the Palace shrines, or granaries.
In front of the Phaistos "Kouloures" passes a "Processional Causeway" which starts in the West Court. One of the "Kouloures" is cut across by a cobbled road built in later years.
The well next to them belongs to the Hellenistic period (323 - 67 BC).
at 6.5km (NE)
The main facade of both the Old and the New Palace looked onto the West Court, off which the official entrances to the Palace opened. The facade which can be seen on a lower level belongs to the Old Palace(1900- 1700 BC). It is indented according to the rules of Minoan architecture. The lower part of the walls is constructed of massive limestone blocks (orthostats). The entrance is set into a recess in the SW corner of the court. lt consisted of a monumental porch with a large central column from which a splendid corridor, paved with gypsum slabs, led to the Central Court. This old entrance is now interrupted by the buildings of the New Palace.
Higher up and 7 metres further back is the facade of the New Palace (1700-1450 BC). It is constructed of large ashlars and also has deep indentations and protrusions. There are two entrances leading to the interior of the Palace. The main entrance is on the north and consists of a monumental staircase leading to the Propylaea. The other is deeply recesed and leads via a wide corridor to the Oentral Court, crossing the West Wing of the Palace
at 6.5km (NE)
The impressive staircase starting in the west Court led to the monumental Propylaea, the principal and most impressive entrance to the New Palace (1700-M50 BC). The portico consists of a central column - only the base is preserved today - flanked by pilasters. There followed a solid wall with a double opening and a colonnade of three columns. The floors of the Propylaea complex were paved with gypsum slabs which gave it a sumptuous appearance. The colonnade opens onto a large open-air light-well through which rainwater drained away.
There are two accesses from the Propylaea to different parts of the Palace. The first access, in the hall with the colonnade, led via a staircase and corridors to the Peristyle and thence to the "Royal Apartments".
The second, in the SE corner of the light-well, led to an inner staircase which ended in the Antechamber of the Magazines and the Central Court of the Palace.
Magazine of the Giant Pithoi
at 6.5km (NE)
The magazines of the Old Palace(1900-1700 BC) occupied a large part of the West Wing immediately to the east of the West Court and extended to the lower terrace. Apart from their use as storage areas, they also appear to have housed some of the workshop activities of the Old Palace. Today most of the magazines have been filled in.
One of these is the magazine with the giant pithoi (storage jars) decorated with discs and rope patterns in relief. Just east of this is a well-preserved quern installation for grinding grain. There is another well-preserved Old Palace magazine under the floor of the light-well in the Propylaea.
at 6.5km (NE)
The north part of the West Wing is occupied by she large complex of the palace magazines or store rooms. It consists of the antechamber, the corridor of the magazines and the magazines themselves. The first wide hall forms the antechamber of the magazines and opens off the Central Court via a doorway with a central column and two pillars. Two other columns inside the room supported the roof. Under the floor of the antechamber was discovered the Archive Room of the 0ld Palace (l900 - 1700 BC), containing over 6.000 clay sealings, i.e. seal impressions on balls of clay, which were used to monitor the movement of the goods in the magazines(fig 1).
A double doorway with a central pillar on the west side of the antechamber led to the corridor of the magazines, with a second central pillar supporting the roof of the corridor. To right and left were the ll magazines, in which the goods produced by the Palace were stored. The westernmost magazine, on the north side of thecorridor, which has been roofed over by the excavators contains tall pithoi (storage jars), one of which bears an inscription in Linear A (fig.2)
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