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Crete TOURnet: Home Crete Guide Minoan Palaces in Crete Settlements in the Old and the New Palace Periods

Settlements in the Old and the New Palace Periods

Minoan site in Palaikastro
Minoan site in Palaikastro
Large cities around the big palaces have been discovered in Knossos, Festos, Malia and Zakros. Around the palace of Knossos there was a city where the population reached 100,000 together with the population of its harbours--a very significant number for that era.
In terms of studying the life of Minoans the excavations of the settlements in Gournia, Psira and Palaikastro are very important. The size of the city of Palaikastro (a Minoan harbour in east Crete) was second only to the city of Knossos, considerably larger than the cities around the other palaces. In some settlements, the houses were decorated as ornately as those in Knossos, and their frescoes were as good as those of Knossos. Many other Minoan settlements have been discovered dating from the New Palace Period.
During the New Palace Period there were also many villas in the countryside of Crete. Their function is not clear, but it is possible that they had certain obligations towards the kings. Their houses are big, often exceeding 30 to 50 rooms. Often, workshops for ceramic production were part of the houses. Examples of such villas are in Zou, Zakros, Sklavokambos and Nirou-Hani.

Photos of Settlements in the Old and the New Palace Periods:


The central courtyard in Gournia
The central courtyard in Gournia
Minoan palace in Zakros
Minoan palace in Zakros
The Minoan villa in  Sklavokambos
The Minoan villa in Sklavokambos
Minoan site in Palaikastro
Minoan site in Palaikastro