Minoan Archaeological Sites
Knossos was undeniably the capital of Minoan Crete. It is grander, more complex, and more flamboyant than any of the other palaces known to us, and it is located about twenty minutes south of the modern port town of Iraklio.
The second largest palace of Crete commands the fertile Messara plain south of Heraklion. Phaistos palace is not as lavishly decorate with wall paintings, but its architectural plan is exquisite in its design.
The palace of Malia is the third largest palace in Crete, and its existence parallels the cycle of all other palaces. An number of extensive settlements flourished around the palace including a small town, and agora, and the necropolis at Chrysolakos, the "gold pit" where locals used to find golden artifacts.
The smallest of the four Minoan palaces, Zakros is strategically located at the East shore of Crete. Many vessels coming from the East probably found it more convenient to unload their cargo at Zakro, than trying to sail around the ever-windy cape Sideros at the north-eastern tip of Crete.
What today we call "Palekastro" is a Minoan town unearthed at the Rousolakos location near the modern town of Palekastro. It is located strategically at the East shore of Crete adjacent to the sheltered harbor of Chiona, a few kilometers North of the palace of Kato Zakros.