Palace of Zakros and Dead’s Gorge
In the area of Pano and Kato Zakros (‘upper’ and ‘lower’ Zakros), there were in the Protopalatial from 1900-1700 BC. a wide, large settlement, which is characterized by the tombs, which were found on the surrounding heights.
Spratt was the first archaeologist who visited the area and mentioned Zakros in 1872. In 1901 the English archaeologist Hogarth dug on the side of the hill east of the location of the palace and discovered a settlement with buildings.
In 1961, finally, Professor N. Platon began excavations on the eastern side of Agios Antonios and discovered two building complexes. Then he began a new excavation at the western end of the small valley of Kato Zakros, which ultimately led to the discovery of the palace of Zakros. The excavations are still running.
The palace had an area of about 8,000 square meters and its facilities are arranged more or less the same as in the other palaces found so far.
The west wing was dedicated to religious ceremonies. The royal apartments were in the East, the workshops in the south and the premises for the staff in the north.
The wings were built around a 30 x 12 meters large, rectangular courtyard and had a majestic sight, with carved porous stones and large doors, monolithic thresholds, double-glazed windows and a small gallery with columns and windows.
The west wing had two floors. A hall led into the waiting room and to the sacred places, to the archives, pleasure pools and in the main rooms, where religious ceremonies were conducted. There were two staterooms, a large with an inner colonnade (portico), door pillars, courtyards, frescoed walls and a floor made of red mortar. The other room had three doors and was decorated inside with spiral pattern.
There are many side rooms in the north wing and a large kitchen, the ceiling of which was supported by two rows of three wooden pillars. There are many cooking devices were found.
The royal apartments were in the East Wing. The Megaron of the king had a light shaft, a door pillar, inside a gallery and a double door to the other neighboring rooms. The Megaron of the Queen was right next to it, but was smaller. In the same wing there is a large, square hall with a door pillar, and in the middle of it a large pool with a fancy border, columns and eight stages. The floor was paved with stones. The adjacent rooms on the ground floor contained a probably sacred spring. The entire palace had a complete and complex water drainage system.
Under the palace other premises were found in various sizes, for which has been confirmed in the meantime that they come from a building under the eastern part of the palace dating back to the Protopalatial period. This building was overbuilt by the palace of Zakros at about 1600 BC. The palace was still at its discovery in the state, which must be shortly after the surprising destruction around 1450 BC. It was presented and was not sacked. This results in numerous, well-preserved finds of ceremonial equipment, clay tablets with Linear A and B were discovered, such as amphorae, utensils made of clay, bronze kettle, swords, stone bowls and other equipment, conical rhytons, a range of cups, and more.
The urban area north of the palace is only partially exposed and you can commit outside the fence, of which one has a beautiful view of the excavation site.
A little further behind the palace to reach the Dead’s Gorge, which leads to Epano Zakros. The valley is good to hike in summer and autumn, and the name comes about, because the Minoans had buried their dead in the numerous caves inside the rock walls. The walk takes about 2 to 2.5 hours.
Hotels at Zakros
Video about Kato Zakros and Dead’s Gorge
Video of the entrance to the bay (overlooking the Dead’s Gorge), the beach of Kato Zakros, the entrance to and from as well as inside the Dead’s Gorge.