Palace of Mallia
Palace of Mallia Review
In its effort to serve mass tourism, the town of Mallia has submerged whatever character it might once have had. The sandy beach, overlooked by the brooding Lasithi mountains, is backed by a solid line of hotels and vacation apartments. The town itself may not be worth a visit, but the Minoan Palace of Mallia on its outskirts definitely is. Like the palaces of Knossos and Phaistos, it was built around 1900 BC; it was less sophisticated both in architecture and decoration, but the layout is similar. The palace appears to have been destroyed by an earthquake around 1700 BC, and rebuilt 50 years later. Across the west court, along one of the paved raised walkways, is a double row of round granaries sunk into the ground, which were almost certainly roofed. East of the granaries is the south doorway, beyond which is the large, circular limestone table, or kernos (on which were placed offerings to a Minoan deity), with a large hollow at its center and 34 smaller ones around the edge. The central court has a shallow pit at its center, perhaps the location of an altar. To the west of the central court are the remains of an imposing staircase leading up to a second floor, and a terrace, most likely used for religious ceremonies; behind is a long corridor with storerooms to the side. In the north wing is a large pillared hall, part of a set of public rooms. The domestic apartments appear to have been in the northwest corner of the palace, entered through a narrow dogleg passage. They are connected by a smaller northern court, through which you can leave the palace by the north entrance, passing two giant old pithoi (large earthenware jars for storage of wine or oil). Excavation at the site continues, which is revealing a sizable town surrounding the palace.