The ancient Minoan settlement of Kato Zakros is located 40 kilometers east of Sitia, at the easternmost edge of the island. In this coastal settlement, the 4th largest palace of the Minoan civilization in Crete (after Knosos, Phaistos and Mallia), was found. The palace, although smaller than the rest, was built with a similar architectural design. It was the largest commanding, cultural and religious facility in the entire easternCrete, during the Minoan era. It’s important to note that it was found unblemished.
This resulted in the palace providing the archeologists with important findings of great archeological value and in excellent condition. A part of the findings is exhibited in the Heraklion archeological museum and the rest at the Sitia archeological museum.
The palace was built in 1900BC and received an expansion in 1700BC. It was more than 8 acres in size and enclosed approximately 180 housings. It was destroyed in 1450BC, along with the rest of the Minoan civilization, possibly by the eruption of the volcano of Santorini(Thera), which caused an enormous earthquake, tidal waves and launched blazing lava in the air, causing fires all over the island.
The findings (golden swords, ivory, copper ornaments etc.) provide evidence that ancient Zakros was a living, fully-developed city, which, taking advantage of its location, traded with the eastern civilizations. After its destruction in 1450BC, it was never rebuilt. Today, it’s in pretty good condition, thanks to the efforts of the locals, and receives hundreds of visitors.
You should definitely visit the Canyon of the Dead, which begins just after Pano Zakros and ends at Kato Zakros. On the canyon walls, caves where the ancient Zakrians used to bury their dead, can be found. The Canyon of the Dead is fully organized, since it’s the ending part of the international trail E4, which starts at the Pyrenees and crosses the entire centralEurope.
ThebeachofKato Zakrosis fantastic, the water being crystal-clear, while there are also marvelous little taverns by the sea, to try out fresh seafood and some raki.