The 4000 year old ruins of the Minoan Palace of Phaistos are scattered over a wide area of a picturesque hillside on the island of Crete.
The first archaeological excavations took place between 1900 and 1909, and it soon became evident that these ruins, as well as further discoveries of the Minoan Epoch that date from around 1900 BC, were the remains of the first highly developed culture of Europe.
The multi-layered ruins and walls of the palace as they appear today are similar to the numerous cultural influences of ancient Crete. Libyan Megalith constructions with large limestone blocks combine with the wood, quarry stone and clay plaster of the semi-timbered buildings.
Unlike classic Greek architecture, the Minoan constructions are not dominated or influenced by strict symmetrical lines. The facades of the buildings were given little importance by the people of Crete, who instead focused on comfort and luxury from within, a fact demonstrated by the discovery of baths and a highly developed drainage system.
No one could have foreseen that the once prosperous Minoan culture that left its traces in Phaistos would later be considered by historians to be the beginning of Europe’s cultural development.
Global Treasures - History's Most Protected Monuments - Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa's Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world's heritage. Join us as we explore one of these protected monuments.