Phaistos is an Bronze Age archaeological site at modern Phaistos, a municipality in south central Crete. The was the second largest ancient palace in Crete.

Phaistos was inhabited from about 4000 BC. The palace, dating from the Middle Bronze Age (2000 BC), was destroyed by an earthquake during the Late Bronze Age. Knossos along with other Minoan sites was destroyed at that time. The palace was rebuilt toward the end of the Late Bronze Age. Around 1400 BC, the invading Achaeans destroyed Phaistos, as well as Knossos. The palace appears to have been unused thereafter, as evidence of the Mycenaean era have not been found.

The new inhabitance began during the Geometric Age and continued to historical times (8th century BC onwards), up to the 3rd century, when the city was finally destroyed by neighboring Gortyn.

Phaistos had its own currency and had created an alliance with other autonomous Cretan cities, and with the king of Pergamon Eumenes II. Around the end of the 3rd century BC, Phaestos was destroyed by the Gortynians and since then ceased to exist in the history of Crete.

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Founded: 2000 BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Greece

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Julian Ludwig (3 years ago)
The better Knossos. Lesser People and clean toilets. Less restricted pave ways to explore the ruins. Must go if you visit Phaistos: Matala. Just 5min away and great coast.
Marie Marsh (3 years ago)
Interesting place but you really need a good guide to explain what it used to be.
DR E W Ferg (4 years ago)
Another stunning Minoan complex, rich with ancient ruins, Minoan culture and ruined with modern concrete!!! Spot the official date tags fixed to the ready mix. can't blame this one on Arthur Evans.
Ronald Meyers (4 years ago)
Definately worth 1-2 hours or more. A word of caution. When we first arrived we stopped at the "Main Gate" parked, and walked into the ruins. Not too much to see. However, we didn't realize to continue driving up the hill another Km to where the most important ruins lie. These were most impressive and I'm glad we didn't just turn around and leave after we viewed the Main Gate.
Mario Siegel (4 years ago)
Smaller excavation than Knossos. I would only recommend to visit it if you are really interested in the Minoan-era. The layout of the palace and its function is very similar to the one in Knossos. But compared to Knossos there is almost nothing that was reconstructed. Don't get me wrong here. The excavation is great if you wanna see all the big excavations of Crete, and if you are really interested in it. But for visitors that have only time to visit one excavation, i would have to recommend visiting Knossos instead. There is simply more to see and to discover and it gives you a far better idea and visualization fo the Minoan-era.
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Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

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Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.