Zakros Palace

The Fascinating History of Crete

Zakros Palace was built in the years of the Minoan settlement of Crete around 1900 BC. This site is located 50 km from Sitia in eastern Crete. Sitia is 140 km from Heraklion in the region of Lasithi. The ancient site is located in the seaside village of Kato Zakros.

The ruins of the Palace of Zakros are very close to the seaThe ruins of the Palace of Zakros are very close to the sea

The extensive ruins are located just behind Káto ZákrosΚάτω Ζάκρος, just 7 km from the modern village of the same name. This was the site of one of the four known Minoan palaces on Crete, with complex rooms, ceremonial chambers and sophisticated constructions.

The palace was reconstructed after an earthquake and dates from 1600 BC, although the original settlement would have been from around 1900 BC. Findings include items that seem to have been traded from the east, and Egypt as well as Cyprus.

Ancient Crete – Rock Crystal Vase from Zakros Palace

One of the most beautiful artefacts to be found on Crete, the rock crystal vase (pictured) was discovered on this site and is displayed at the museum in Heraklion.

It is considered that this was a rich trading village and palace, as it is located facing east and in a protected cove, finds include many exotic riches such as elephants tusks.

Clay tablets were found here with Linear A script, much like the ones found at other Minoan sites such as Phaistos. Artefacts from this site are displayed at the museums in Sitia, Agios Nikolaos and Heraklion.

This is the fourth largest of the Minoan palaces on the island, however it tends to be much less touristed and allow the visitor plenty of space, peace and time to explore the site and imagine life in this special place. Check with your hotel as to opening hours as these vary with the season, there is a small entrance fee. The town was a flourishing urban centre, and the ruins stretch over a large area, well worth the exploration.

Zakros Gorge...

A cave in Zakros GorgeA cave in 'The Gorge of the Dead'

The nearby Zákros Gorge is also named The Gorge of the Dead, due to findings of burial chambers in its caves. This is a most unusual gorge to walk and can be approached by starting at the inland point and walking down back towards the sea, or simply walking up and back through the gorge.

Close to the site is the lovely small beach side village of Κάτω Ζάκρος - 'kato' means 'lower'  - where can be found accommodation and tavernas, and a beautiful cove and beach. Try some fresh local seafood washed down with dopio or local krassi wine.

Zakros Gorge also known as the Gorge of the DeadZakros Gorge also known as the Gorge of the Dead

On the Map...

See the location of Zakros Palace on this map which shows the Minoan Palaces of Crete:

Zakros Palace
Archaeology by the Bay...

Enjoy a dip at the beautiful Kato Zakros beach after your exploration into Minoan history...

Kato Zakros Bay, eastern CreteΚάτω Ζάκρος Bay, eastern Crete

Κάτω Ζάκρος BeachΚάτω Ζάκρος Beach

Crete Travel Guide
Travel to the Greek Islands
Travel to Athens

Buy Now

Five Days in the West of Crete by Car or Motorcycle e-book

28 pages
Only €2.48 EUR

Buy Now

Five Days in the East of Crete by Car or Motorcycle e-book

28 pages
Only €2.48 EUR

Buy Now

Two e-book Bundle

56 pages in two books for car travel
Only €4.60 EUR for two books

Buy Now

10 Days in the West of Crete by Bus e-book

55 pages
Only €2.58 EUR