At a distance of around 108km south-east of Agios Nikolaos is
the village of Zakros or Epano Zakros. Located in a fertile
valley between two hills, the area is covered with orange and
olive groves. The village itself is very picturesque with
traditional whitewashed houses and beautiful gardens full of
The archaeological site of Kato Zakros is easily accessed and is one of the most important archaeological sites of Crete. Excavations first began in 1901 by the English archaeologist, D Hogarth. The work was further continued in 1961 by Professor Platon. Some significant antiquities have been found which support the existence of a thriving Minoan city that lasted well into the Roman Period.
Amongst the ruins was discovered the remains of an ancient palace complex which was thought to have been erected in 1600 BC and destroyed in 1450 BC. Current theories suggest that its destruction was due to a tidal wave caused by the eruption of the volcano in Thera (Santorini). The palace complex covers an area of 8,000 square metres and has 300 rooms. Today, one can still see the slate paved courtyard, the chamber which held the circular cistern, the Royal chambers, the store rooms, the banqueting chamber, the ceremonial chamber, workshops and the altar. Much has been learnt about the Late Palace period from these excavations. Near the palace area ancient tombs have been traced which are of great archaeological value.