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Zorba the Greek

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history of Crete

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Malia in Crete

is a small town halfway between Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos, known primarily for its nightlife. That is why it especially attracts young people. In the summer months, from evening to early morning hours, the city is bustling with life. Numerous bars and clubs are eagerly visited by young thrill-seekers. I remember memories of a married couple who rented a hotel room. In the early morning, they both set off to explore the island. When they returned from a day trip around 8pm, other hotel guests slowly flocked to their nightly escapades. In this way, they exchanged without causing any problems.

But Malia is not only a good place to stay for young people and a starting point for discoverers of the historical side of Crete, there are archaeological excavations of the palace that once belonged to one of the three sons of the king of Olympus, i.e. Zeus.

Palace in Malia, Crete

Crete is famous for its archaeological excavations, extremely ... old, that is, not reaching several centuries BCE, but a dozen or so. The most famous of course in this regard is the Palace of Knossos, belonging to King Minos. A little less known, preserved without architectural enhancements, that is, more authentic is the Festos Palace, belonging to Rhadamanthus, the second son of Zeus. In Malia, there are the remains of the palace of the third brother, Sarpedon.

The first palace was built here around 1900 BCE, unfortunately about two centuries later it was destroyed for reasons that have not been explained to this day. Around 1650 B.C.E. a new one was built on the ruins. It was destroyed by fire, but it is unknown whether it was the result of war conflicts or a natural disaster.

As in Knossos and Festos, here too the palace was the center of the urban area. It was extremely extensive, as it covered an area of 7.5 thousand m². The inner courtyard surrounded by buildings had an equally impressive dimensions of 48 x 23 m. There were sanctuaries, royal halls and a theater around. Little has survived to this day, and huge pitches attract the attention of visitors from behind small walls protruding above the ground level. Part of the excavation site is covered. In winter, there are quite heavy rains that destroy the remnants of today's extremely brittle. It is worth starting sightseeing with a small museum. There is a model of the palace from its greatest splendor. Photos, charts and descriptions explain what is hard to see in the excavation.