Respect to Dead

Ancient Tombs

The Cretan land is full of ancient graves, highlighting the great care of the Cretans for the dead. In the Bronze Age (6000 BC-3500 BC) the simple deposition of dead inside caves was abandoned and use of cemeteries was widespread.

During the Minoan era, in some areas of eastern Crete, including Gournia, Mochlos and Palekastro, the tombs were rectangular and could be used again for the burial of many bodies. At Chrysolakos by Malia, Palekastro, Arhanes and Platanos, archaeologists identified entire burial buildings, but the most prevalent types of tombs in Crete were vaulted (tholos) and domed. Large vaulted tombs have been identified at Kamilari, next to the monastery of Odigitria, Koumasa, Maleme, Ahladia, Stylos, Fylaki by Vamos, Margarites, Apodoulou and Gerokambos. Large cemeteries (necropoleis) of the era, with hundreds of tombs have been found at the hill of Fourni by Arhanes and at Armeni by Rethymnon.

During the Roman era, a large number of tombs were carved into the soft limestone that abounds in Crete. The most famous cemetery with carved caves of this season is Matala, where hippies lived in the 70s. Impressive carved tombs are also found at ancient Kydonia (Chania), at Trialonia, at Siderospilia by Prinias and at the lush ravine of Pente Parthenes (ancient Lappa). In particular, the area of Agios Thomas, with the tremendous carved tombs of Gra Mandra, was an important center for the worship of chthonic deities.

The largest cemetery of the Bronze Age (4500 BC-3500 BC) in Greece has been excavated at Agia Fotia by Sitia and is home to 302 graves.

Stylos Domed Tomb

South of Aptera we meet the domed tomb of Stylos that came to light in 1961 (looted) by the archaeologists N. Platon, and K. Davaras. This monumental tomb was of a local lord and has a circular stone chamber and long, road corridor (20,80 m long).


Maleme Domed Tomb

The Late Minoan vaulted tomb of Maleme is located very close to the German military cemetery and the historical airport of Maleme. The tomb was already been looted since the early 20th century and was badly damaged by a bomb during the Battle of Crete.


Fylaki Domed Tomb

Just next to the small village of Fylaki at Apokoronas province, Chania, you will find the vaulted tomb of Fylaki. It was built in the post Minoan Times. It is very well preserved and clean. There is a long aisle at its entrance and its pyramid-like roof is very impressive.


Margarites Domed Tomb

Near the village Margarites we meet is a Late Minoan tomb of 1350 BC, which is considered one of the most important sites of the area. An aisle with carved stones leads to a circular domed tomb. Inside it, the bones of four adults and two children were found. From the findings, it seems that they came from higher social and religious level.


Kamilari Domed Tomb

At position Grigori Peak by Kamilari we meet the ruins of alarge domed tomb (34m long perimeter) with panoramic sea views. The tomb was discovered in 1959 by the Italian archaeologist Doro Levi, and dates back from 2000 BC.


Gerokambos Domed Tomb

At Gerokambos (Sacred Place) west of Lendas in 1959 three vaulted tombs were found, with the largest (diameter 5.10m) looted and empty. In front of the entrance, a hall was full of people and animal bones, charcoal and cups. In a second tomb figurines, daggers, vases, seals and beads were found.


Platyskinos Domed tomb

At position Platyskinos near Achladia, Sitia, a large underground vaulted tomb of diameter 4.08m, height 4.16m and corridor 9m, has been revealed. The tomb, extremely rare especially in Eastern Crete, dates back from 1400-1220 BC and is thought to have been inspired by the tombs of Mycenae.


Ancient Lappa

Ancient Lappa was built near the current town of Argyroupolis, located 27km south of Rethymno. The area is now famous for its springs with waterfalls, its old mills and the lush green landscape that attracts thousands of visitors each year.


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