Zakros, Crete, Greece, 14 October 2018.
(Click on any image to see it in a larger size, if you are on a PC or tablet at least.)
This post is about the ancient Minoan city of Zakros, which was one of the four main Minoan “Palaces”. There is Knossos from three posts ago, Malia that we drove past without visiting, Zakros (where we are) and Phaistos in probably three posts.
Here we are looking at the remains of the Palace of Zakros and the town behind it. Perhaps you might like to click on the image to see it in more detail. The large open area on the left is the Central Court of the “Palace”. At the front with a small wall around it and also a small modern fence is the circular well. The area fenced off to the right must be under excavation and includes the “Well of the Fountain” and the “Cistern Hall” though I don’t seem to have photographed it.
From a noticeboard at the site, this is what the Palace may have looked like in its time, with at least two stories and occupying a large area. In the previous panorama, our viewpoint is at the right edge of the frame here, about a third of the way up.
At the far end of the Central Court, this is the base of a shrine in the foreground and note the fine stonework behind it.
This looks like a chair but it may not be so. I think this is the room where pottery vessels were stored. It is also near the room where bronze ingots and elephant tusks were found.
Just to the right of the previous image, this is the Archives Room, where Linear A tablets were discovered.
Less agricultural produce seems to have been stored in the “palace” than other “palaces”. This implies the town was less focussed on agriculture and more on trade. Main items stored were pottery, metal goods and textiles, and there is even evidence of perfume production. There were also both olive presses and wine presses found in the town and a bronze kiln.
We are still inside the West Wing of the “Palace” and looking beyond to part of the town on the hill.
The town developed in the Protopalatial Period 1900-175BC, was destroyed by an earthquake around 1650BC (as for the other “palaces”), rebuilt by around 1600BC and finally destroyed in 1450BC when the Mycanaeans arrived.
The “palace” was unusual in that after the final destruction it was not looted so many artefacts have been found.
This is a “Lustral Basin”. Between the front stones and the pink stone just behind which may seem part of it is a small stone stairway that goes down to a recessed area about three or four feet deep. Based on nearby murals, it appears to have been used for “purification rituals”.
This is at the rear of the Lustral Basin from the previous image. The circular recess is actually where a column sat. There is the remains of a mural behind it.
We are now out of the “palace” and in the town. This is the “Port Road” though we are looking away from the sea and towards the town. Trade was a major function of the town. Its position sheltered it from dangerously strong north winds encountered further north on the coast and it was the nearest Minoan port to Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean. Various exotic Canaanite and Egyptian items were discovered here.
Stairs and walls.
Stairs to a residence.
The town was very densely settled with narrow walkways between the walls of the houses.
You can see the Central Court down there in the distance. This gives you a good idea of the size of the site though not all is excavated. This is probably House H in the foreground. You may have guessed that.
The sea is not far away.
Looking down on the remains of the “palace”. There is not much visible to the left of the Central Court because much of that was destroyed by agriculture prior to excavation.
Views of a part of the town.
Back now not far from where we started with a large succulent in the foreground.
A closer look at some of the buds. This involved an exercise in focus stacking (in this case, combining twelve images at different points of focus).
Time for a leisurely lunch at a beachside restaurant.
There would have been a harbour here in Minoan times though the shoreline may have been different.