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Archaeological Site of Amnissos

Last Update: Jul 2012
Archaeological site, Byzantine & Post-Byzantine Monuments AMNISSOS , HERAKLIO , GREECE
Tel.: +30 2810 762761
Opening hours:
01Jun - 31Oct Mon-Sun, 0800-1500
01Nov - 31May Mon-Sun, 0830-1500

Archaeological Site of Amnissos - Overview

  The first organised settlement to be established in the area of Palaiochora (Amnissos) dates to the Middle Minoan period (19th century BC). The site is mentioned as a-mi-mi-so in the Linear B tablets. Habitation continues until the end of the Mycenaean period (12th century BC). In the Archaic period (7th century BC) a sanctuary dedicated to Zeus Thenatas is founded and remaines in use until the 2nd century AD. After a long period of abandonment, the site was again inhabited during the Venetian era. This medieval settlement, called Mesovouni, was located on the hill of Palaiochora and was destroyed in the first years of the Turkish occupation.
  The site was excavated by Spyridon Marinatos in 1929-1938 and then by Stylianos Alexiou. In 1983-85 the architectural remains were cleared and drawn by the Archaeological Institute of the University of Heidelberg. Consolidation and conservation works are carried out at intervals by the 23rd Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities.
  The most important monuments of the site are:
  The "Villa of the Lilies". A typical Minoan villa of the Neopalatial period with paved corridors, "polythyra" (pier-and-door partitions), shrine, kitchen and rooms decorated with wall-paintings depicting blossomed lilies.
  "Building C" or "Megaron". Minoan building divided into two separate rooms by a partition wall. It was used until the 14th century BC.
  "Complex E". Residential quarter of the Late Minoan period to the west of the hill of Palaiochora. A section has been submerged in the sea and the preserved complex is divided into two large wings; the east includes storerooms and the west is occupied by a shrine and a deposition pit.
  "Complex F". This is the part of the settlement that dates to the Mycenaean period. It consists of irregular architectural complexes, with rooms employed for the storage of amphoras, a small temple (?) and an open courtyard.
  Sanctuary of Zeus Thenatas. It is situated on the hill of Palaiochora and has a peribolos surrounding a circular altar of ashes. A wall built of ashlar blocks, dated to the MM II period, is visible today next to the sanctuary of Zeus.

Archaeological Site of Amnissos - Map

Executives & Departments

  • Archaeological service:, Tel.: 2810 226470, 2810 226092, Fax: 2810 343574, Email:  
    23rd Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, Heraklion

Related Locations

Principals / HQ / participations...

Activities / facilities / services / specialization

Archaeological site

Art & culture

Ancient monuments • Villa / Neopalatial period, 1700-1450 BC • Frescoes / Minoan civilization, 3200-1450 BC
Ancient sanctuary • Sanctuary of Zeus
Prehistoric settlement • Minoan civilization, 3200-1450 BC
Byzantine & Post-Byzantine Monuments

Art & culture

Settlement • Venetian period in Crete, 1204-1669

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