Malia Crete

Malia Crete is one of the ancient Minoan palaces which testify to the magnificent civilization which grew up on the island.

The site is situated about two miles (3 km) to the east of the modern resort of Malia. It has been excavated mainly by the French School of Archaeology since the early 1920’s. Because the site was abandoned at the end of the 2nd millennium BC and no one else ever used it, there are no other building or other remains to cause confusion.

As with many remains found on Crete, you can now see those from this site in the Heraklion museum.

Excavations at Malia with roof
Excavations at Malia

The palace

The palace discovered at Malia, Crete, is smaller than Knossos. Like Knossos and Phaestos, it was built with an outer and a central courtyard.

As you approach the palace across the outer courtyard, on your right you can see the foundations of large grain silos, some storerooms, and what at thought to be the royal apartments.

Keep going towards the sea (north), and you’ll reach the minoan paved road which leads to the north entrance. Here you’ll find a very large pithos which is nearly 6 feet high (1.75m). This vessel could hold over 220 gallons (1000 litres) of wine or olive oil.

Large pithos at Malia Crete
Large pithos

North Entrance

As you go through there is a vestibule, and then you can see two bases on the ground. These are the bases of two pillars which originally supported a portico. On the left are the remains of storerooms, and on the right is the North court which led to the royal apartments.

Central courtyard

This is the largest of the courtyards at Malia, Crete. In the centre you can still see a lower area which was a shallow pit where sacrifices were performed.

Surrounding the central courtyard are various rooms. In the north west corner is a sanctuary, and nearby what is believed to be a throne room, or at any rate a room with royal significance. On the right is a staircase leading to an upper floor and into a cult room where two square pillars are engraved with the famous double headed axe.

In the southwest of the courtyard is a circular stone table known as a kernos. Some think this was where offerings were left, while others think it could be something to do with gambling!

The ancient town

When you leave by the North entrance follow the minoan paved road. It leads to the Hypostyle Crypt and what are believed to be meeting rooms. To the north is a necropolis, and this was the royal graveyard. It was here that a pendant in the form of a bee was discovered, and you can see it in the Heraklion Museum.

And then…

When you’ve finished taking in the sights of the anicient Minoans, there’s always the modern town of Malia with its tavernas and beaches.

quaint taverna in Malia town
After your visit to the ancient Minoan site why not relax at a taverna in the town

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