It is a coastal area with a settlement 8 km away from Pano Zakros at a magnificent bay with sandy beach.
Kato Zakros is the most impressive small fishing village, hidden away in the south-east corner of Crete, behind a beautiful tamarisk-fringed beach.
Anyone staying in Kato Zakros will want to walk down the “Valley of the Dead”, approximately a 2-hour walk, which leads down from Pano Zakros, to the sea at Kato Zakros.
Here, in 1961 the renowned archaeologist Nikolaos Platon traced and excavated the fourth Minoan Palace on Crete. The first to trace evidence of ancient ruins was Spratt.
After him the archaeologists’ Halbherr and Mariani, Evans and Hogarth searched the area, while golden jewels found by a peasant and the finds handed in by Em. Figetakis and N. Karantonis gave evidence of the existence of ancient sites.
The overall size of the central building was bigger than 10 acres and there were about 250 chambers for different use.
The palace was not looted when found so although smaller than the ones in Knossos, Festos and Mallia, the finds there were more in number (over a 1000) and more significant, thus giving us valuable information about the life and civilization of the Minoans.
Many of them are “royal”, real pieces of art.
The palace was mostly developed due to its geographic position. It was the big port of call for the Minoan ships coming from and heading to Egypt and the East.
This was evidenced by the many finds and raw materials coming from these areas. The handicraft and arts were particularly developed in the Palace of Zakros and were very profitable. The palace finds are exhibited in the Museums of Heraklion, Sitia and Agios Nikolaos.
The palace was unexpectedly destroyed by the volcanic eruption in about 1500 B.C.
The Greek Fund of the Archaeological Resources and Expropriations (TAPA) has published a brief guide where you can find basic information. Moreover interesting excavations have taken place in the palace annexes.
The old palace was located there, a metal furnace was found and other buildings were revealed with numerous finds, plates of the linear A and B etc. In the gorge of Zakros (that is why it was named the gorge of the dead) and on the hill of Agios Antonios tombs in caves were excavated.
The porous stone quarry with which the palace at Pelekita was built was found there as well as a cave with traces of Neolithic habitation. Kato Zakros is an archaeological paradise in a pure natural landscape of exceptional beauty.