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Information About Lassithi Archaeological Sites
The Minoan palace of Zakros was the fourth largest on Crete, located on a strategic site and was an important trading centre with eastern countries as indicated by evidence found: Tusks, elephants, copper, rust etc. The palace was an administrative centre of worship and trading.
The palace was built in two phases: the older palace was built about 1900 BC and the later palace about 1600 BC, these were destroyed at the same time as other palaces on the island about 1450 BC.
Tombs were found in a cave on the side of the Gorge of the Dead, as is named the gorge that leads to Kato Zakros. The discoveries from the palace are exhibited in the Museums of Sitia and Agios Nikolaos.
The Dorian town of Lato Etera is located 11 km north east of the village of Kritsa and was built between 7 - 3rd century BC. It was named Etera to distinguish it from the Lato harbour located at Kamara, which is known today as Agios Nikolaos. It was named after Lito, Lato to the Dorians, mother of Apollonas and Artemidos, but the goddess of the town was Ilithyia as depicted on their coinage. Alexander the Great 's Admiral Nearchos came from Lato.
Gournia is an example of an intermediate sized settlement of the later Minoan period, 1550-1450 BC. It is built on a low hill close to the sea at the Isthmus of Ierapetra. The first habitation was in the early Minoan period of around 2300 BC. The palace was built between 2000 - 1600 BC, but it was destroyed along with the other Minoan palaces in 1450 BC. About 50 years later the area was resettled, but was finally abandoned around 1200 BC.
The rocky island of Spinalonga is located to the north of Elounda in the Bay of Mirambello. In ancient times a fort was built on the island to protect the harbour of the ancient town of Olountas. In 1579 the Venetians built a strong fortress upon the ruins of the ancient fort. The new fortress was one of the most important of Crete. After the Ottoman invasion of 1715 it passed into their hands up to 1903. In that year the Cretan government decided that it should be used as a leper colony and all lepers from Crete were transferred there, in later years lepers from all over Greece were installed there. It ceased operations in the 1957.
The settlement of Vasilikis, meaning royal, was one of the first Minoan settlements reflecting urban organisation founded 2600 - 2300 BC. The settlement is on a slope of a hill close to the village of Vasiliki and closer to Minoan Gournia, a strategic location on the Isthmus of Ierapetra. The main building of the settlement was destroyed by fire about 2300 BC. Another building was found further up the hill that dates to 2200 - 1900 BC. Evidence of Roman occupation was also found.
In the area of Palekastro, the most eastern point of Crete, excavations have found a settlement of the late Minoan period 1550 - 1220 BC, although evidence shows earlier occupation as far back as 3000 BC. Finds include: cemeteries, well structured ossuary and the remains of large residences. Habitation stopped about the same times as Zakros, about 1450 BC. The later settlement covering an area of 50,000 m2 of 1300 - 1200 BC was overpopulated.
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