Minoan Palace of Phaistos

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Get a rental car to discover the Minoan Palace of Phaistos in Crete Phaistos, or more correctly the Minoan Palace of Phaistos, is located in the Messara Plain in south-central Crete, 55 kilometers south of Heraklion and a short distance from the archaeological site of Agia Triada, the archaeological site of Gortys and Matala.
Phaistos is one of the most important archaeological sites in Crete, with many thousands of visitors annually. Phaistos is "Φαιστός" in Greek and you may find it also written as Phaestos, Faistos or Festos.
The Minoan palace of Phaistos corresponds to a flourishing city which arose in the fertile plain of the Messara in prehistoric times, from circa 6000 BC to the 1st century BC, as archaeological finds confirm.

Phaistos history
The history of the Minoan palace of Phaistos, like that of the other Minoan palaces of Crete, is a turbulent one:
The first palace of Phaistos was built in circa 2000 BC. Its mythical founder was Minos himself and its first king was his brother Radamanthys.
In 1700 BC a strong earthquake destroyed the palace, which was rebuilt almost immediately. However, Phaistos was no longer the administrative center of the area, an honor which passed to neighboring Agia Triada. Phaistos continued to be the religious and cult center of south Crete.
In 1450 BC there was another great catastrophe, not only in Phaistos but across the whole of Crete. The city of Phaistos recovered from the destruction, minted its own coins and continued to flourish for the next few centuries until the first century BC, when it was destroyed by neighboring Gortys.

Phaistos excavations
The first excavations in the wider area of Phaistos were undertaken in 1900 by the Italian Archaeological School under Federico Halbherr and Luigi Pernier, continuing after the Second World War under Doro Levi. Most of the buildings visible today belong to the Neopalatial period (1700 - 1450 BC). Unlike Knossos, there have been no efforts at restoration but only conservation.

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