Zakros is located in a remote area of eastern Crete, 45km southeast of Sitia. Communication with the Mid East was faster from here during the Minoan Age, thus the Minoans built here the administrative center of Eastern Crete, with an important port. The findings are very rich (sheets of gold, ivory, jewelry, pottery, etc.) and prove the close relationship of the city with the ports of Cyprus, Egypt and the Middle East.
The Palace of Zakros was built at the outlet of the imposing Gorge of the Deads and is the fourth largest Minoan palace that has been excavated. The region is full with archaeological treasures, and even the name of the gorge of the Deads is taken after the preminoan graves found on its sides. The site is visitable, although most findings are kept in museums of Heraklion, Sitia and Agios Nikolaos.
The palace covers an area of 4.5 acres, while the surrounding settlements covered a total area of 8 acres. The excavations started in 1900 by the British School of Archaeology and continued till 1940, bringing to light many Minoan houses and objects. But he who first discovered the palace in 1961 was Nikolaos Platon, after seeing three golden objects from Zakros from the collection of a doctor. The palace at Zakros is one of the most important archaeological discoveries, considering that it is the only Minoan palace not looted and found with its treasury vault intact!
The palace, like the rest palaces in Crete, was built in 1900BC, destroyed in 1600BC and re-destroyed in 1450BC. Heart of the palace was a large central courtyard, from where a paved road to the port started. Around the courtyard you can still see the remains of the kitchens, the workshops, the warehouses, the treasury vault, the file room, a lustral basin, skylights, a banquet room, the royal apartments and a large pool-like fountain. Around the palace there were houses with many rooms, probably auxiliary to the palace.
In the region of Zakros someone will see a large number of wells with fresh water. Somehow, in the wells located within the site (and only in them!) many turtles leave. German scientists study this strange phenomenon and believe that their existence in Zakros dates back to the Minoan era. Moreover, north of Zakros, near the cave Pelekita, you will see the quarry form which the materials of the palace were extracted.