Zominthos

Zominthos is an archaeological site in the prefecture of Rethymno, located on Psiloritis at an altitude of approximately 1,200 meters and 7.5 km west of Anogeia, on your way to the Ideon Andron.

The first excavations took place from 1983 until 1990 by archaeologists Gianni and Efi Sakellaraki and revealed an entire Minoan settlement (1900-1400 BC) with fine strong building construction and traces of frescoes, delicately painted vases of precious materials, jewelry and many other finds.

The particularity of the Minoan state of Zominthos is that it is a town in the mountains, the only excavated mountainous Minoan settlement so far and also so prosperous. The reason it was built there is that Zominthos is located in a strategic checkpoint of trafficking the agricultural and livestock products and timber across the region, while the sacred road from the palace of Knossos to the Ideon Andron was also passing through that territory. So, maybe this palace was built to accommodate king Minos during his visit to the cave.

The Neopalatial complex found in Zominthos, of a huge size for that time, was probably the administrative center of the region, which was destroyed along with the nearby settlement in 1400 BC by an earthquake and wasn’t inhabited again, which helps the excavations.

The main building covers an area of ​​about 1600 sq. meters and dominates the western side of the hill, having the entire plateau under its control. It features facades built from large pieces of processed stones, the fact that makes this building to stand out from the palaces of Phaistos and Knossos, which are built of tufa. The walls of the building, three meters in height, were plastered with clay for insulation and decorated with frescoes. This building had at least two or three floors, but they were destroyed by the earthquake and today only the ground floor remains. In the northwestern part of the main building a workshop with an oven was found with many clay objects of everyday use.

Significant functional and ceremonial objects were also found in Zominthos made of precious materials, such as rock crystal that Minoans believed having magical properties, the priest’s scepter with carved snakes, thuribles, bronze daggers and goblets.

In 2004 the excavations had begun again and had not stopped since.