16/50.- Phaistos, the "processional ways"


The Gortys to Phaistos twenty-minutes bus ride offer a breathtaking panoramic view of the Mesara plain. The archeological site at Phaistos is the second in importance on the island in what Minoan civilization and palace architecture is concerned. The palace area and Minoan city of Phaistos have been excavated by Italian archeologists since 1884. As in the case of Knossos, the palace of the second millennium BC was destroyed by fire in 1700 BC, and on its site a new and more grandiose architectural feat had been erected. But the second palace was again destroyed in the 15 C. BC. Today we can see at Phaistos both the ruins of the old palace and those of the new palace, the latter being partially restored, consolidated and protected under plastic sheds or concrete structures.

In this picture is shown the general view of the courtyards arranged on two levels. In the foreground is the Upper Courtyard and the Greek house; to the right is the theatral area. The Great Staircase of the Palace has twelve steps and leads to a propylon complex formed by a large column base between pilasters, and three successive rows. This structure is the forerunner of the Greek propylaia.

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