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Archaeological Site of Agia Triada

Place description

Located on the banks of the Geropotamos River at Agia Triada, a small palace was constructed by the Minoans. The Italian Archaeological School at Athens excavated this site between 1902 and 1914. Built in the 16th century B.C. during the New Palace period, this Royal Villa may have served as a summer residence for the king of Phaestus or as a permanent dwelling after the destruction of the Phaestus palace in 1450BC.

Since the 8th century BC, the site has maintained a continuous religious presence. Evidence suggests that during the Geometric period (8th century B.C.), the site held religious significance. In the Hellenistic period (4th-3rd centuries B.C.), the sanctuary of Zeus Velchanos was established, and much later, during the Venetian occupation, the church of St. George Galatas (14th century AD) was built in the courtyard area, which still stands today.

The Aghia Triada Villa consists of two wings, forming an L-shaped structure that encloses a court. Although smaller than the palaces at Knossos and Phaestus, it contains all the characteristic features of Minoan palatial architecture. The villa includes halls with polythyra (pier-and-door partitions), light-wells, shrines, storerooms, repositories, workshops, staircases, porticoes, courtyards, terraces, balconies, and streets and courtyards paved with flagstones. Numerous artifacts were discovered during the excavations and are now on display at the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion.

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