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Archaeological Area Tylissos

Place description

The archaeological site of Tylisos is situated in the village of Tylissos, 16km west of Heraklion, in a strategic location near the east slopes of the Psiloritis range. Tylissos was a Minoan city that flourished between 1650-1450 mainly because it was located along the road that connected Knossos to the Minoan centers of West Crete and Ida Mount. In 1450, it was destroyed but was later rebuilt and prospered until 1200.

Tylisos features three small palaces (mansions) known as Mansion A, B, and C. Their architecture is among the most impressive in Minoan Crete, rivaling that of other major palaces of the era. The best-preserved mansion is Mansion A, which had two floors with a central courtyard, apartments, and warehouses with jars. Mansion B contains very old ruins, while Mansion C housed a central chamber and a system for water supply and sanitation.

Excavations at Tylisos began in 1912 by Iosif Hatzidakis, following the accidental discovery of three large bronze cauldrons – boilers. Later, in 1940, Nikolaos Platon carried out extended restoration and maintenance works. Due to the discovery of the boilers and one impressive bronze figurine of exceptional art, Tylisos is believed to have been a significant center of bronze. Furthermore, archaeologists found several plaques and jars inscribed with Linear A in Tylisos, which is the “language of the palaces” as it has been detected only in palaces and luxurious Minoan mansions. Other impressive items include the murals, which are compared in fine art only with those of Knossos. Additionally, many tombs have been found in the area (many of them already plundered) dating back to 1400-1200BC with painted clay sarcophagi, jewelry, stamps, etc.

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