Agia Triada

At the banks of the river Geropotamos, at position Agia Triada, the Minoans built a small palace that was excavated by the Italian Archaeological School at Athens in 1902-1914. This Royal Villa was built in the 16th century B.C. (New Palace period) and was probably used as a summer villa for the king of Phaestus or as permanent residence after the destruction of Phaestus palace in 1450BC.

The site has a constant religious presence since the 8th century BC till today. There is evidence that in the Geometric period (8th century B.C.) the site had religious function. In the Hellenistic period (4th-3rd centuries B.C.) the sanctuary of Zeus Velchanos was founded and much later, during the Venetian occupation, the area of the courtyard was occupied by the church of St. George Galatas (14th century AD) that we see today.

The Villa at Aghia Triada consists of two wings which form an L-shaped structure enclosing a court. Although it does not have the dimensions of the palaces at Knossos and Phaestus, it presents all the typical features of Minoan palatial architecture. It has halls with polythyra (pier-and-door partitions), light-wells, shrines, storerooms, repositories, workshops, staircases, porticoes, courtyards, terraces and balconies, streets and courtyards paved with flagstones. Numerous finds were uncovered in the villa during the excavations and have been exhibited at the Archaeological museum of Heraklion.