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Local community Palekastro
Τοπική Κοινότητα Παλαικάστρου
Palekastro (Greece)
Basic data
Country GreeceGreece Greece
region Crete
Regional district Lasithi
local community Sitia
Parish Itanos
Geographic coordinates 35 ° 12 ′  N , 26 ° 15 ′  E Coordinates: 35 ° 12 ′  N , 26 ° 15 ′  E
Height above d. M. 35  m
surface 113.562 km²
Residents 1275 (2011)
Population density -
LAU-1 code no. 72040201
Local division 16
Palekastro - Eastern Crete
Palekastro - Eastern Crete

Palekastro ( Greek Παλαίκαστρο ( n. Sg. )) Is a rural village in the east of the Greek island of Crete in the immediate vicinity of the famous palm beach of Vai . Since the administrative reform in 2010 , the village, together with numerous smaller settlements and hamlets, has formed the local community of Palekastro ( Τοπική Κοινότητα Παλαικάστρου Topikí Kinótita Palékastrou ) in the municipality of Itanos in the municipality of Sitia and has a total of 1275 inhabitants. In 2017 the local community Mitatou was incorporated.


The local community Palekastro extends over 113.562 km² in the extreme northeast of Crete. The village has so far been spared from mass tourism. Some of the almost 1000 inhabitants still live mainly from agriculture. They grow olives and wine , there are still full-time fishermen who find it increasingly difficult to land large catches because of the massive overfishing of the sea. Tourism is a sideline. Almost without exception, the region is visited by individual travelers who appreciate the unspoilt landscape, the numerous, sometimes lonely, beaches and the serenity of the residents.

On the eastern edge of the village, the table mountain Kastri , visible from afar, is enthroned, which gave the village its name in Venetian times. The Venetian merchants had built a fortress on the flat summit, of which hardly anything is left today. Over the centuries the stones were removed and used to build houses. Whoever climbs up there today (approx. 30 minutes from the beaches of Chiona or Kouremenos ) can enjoy a unique view over the village, the beaches and the mountains.


Paleocastro in Venetian times

The very extensive Minoan trading settlement of Roussolakkos, excavated by English archaeologists, in the immediate vicinity of Chiona Beach, proves that the region in the extreme east of the island of Crete was apparently one of the most important trading centers of the Minoan culture. The ancient port of Itanos , northeast of Palekastro , which is several meters below the waterline today, was not fully developed until the Doric era.

The Roussolakkos archaeological site

The Minoan city, whose origin goes back to the Bronze Age , is located about two kilometers east of Palekastro and 230 meters southwest of Chiona Beach. The city was excavated in 1902 by Robert Carr Bosanquet and Richard MacGillivray Dawkins of the British School of Archeology in Athens. Roussolakkos was spared any looting and hid unique finds. One of the most beautiful pieces is an ivory statuette decorated with gold, the kouros by Palaikastro . The statuette can now be viewed with numerous other finds in the archaeological museum in Sitia . According to the latest research, the find seems to be the clearest evidence to date that the Minoan matriarchy postulated by the Knossos excavator Evans did not exist. Roussolakkos is an artificial name, the real name of the city was probably Elia . Other finds, such as the molds from Palekastro , are in the archaeological museum in Heraklion .

Largest city in the east

The first settlement dates back to the pre-palace period . During this time a small settlement emerged which, like the other Minoan settlements on the island, perished in a major catastrophe. The reconstruction took place at the same time as that of the palaces and other Minoan settlements on the island; it is estimated that the city must have covered more than 50 hectares in its heyday. Like other Minoan cities, Roussolakkos was also unfortified.

Together with many other cities on the island, Roussolakkos was destroyed at the end of the old palace period, then rebuilt and grew to become the largest Minoan settlement in eastern Crete. With the great plain behind it and a port protected by the Kastri hill, it became the most important trading center in the east. The city was the second largest of the Minoan era after Knossos . At the beginning of the Late Minoan Period (SM I A), the coast of Palekastro was destroyed by a nine-meter-high tsunami , which was caused by the Minoan eruption on Thēra . The tsunami debris contains farm animal bones and ceramics along with volcanic ash from the eruption, allowing three different dating methods to be used and compared.

Severe damage

Many of the old excavation cuts are now filled. The archaeological site was damaged many times during and after the Second World War . Today houses and streets with a long main road running east-west are visible.

In the south, the British excavated the Minoan summit sanctuary of Petsophas on Petsofas . It was one of the richest and most important Minoan mountain sanctuaries in terms of finds. In addition to numerous stone tablets with the linear letter A , a large number of votive figures and seals were found . Stone marbles prove the use of these children's toys as early as Minoan times.

World Monuments Fund

Roussolakkos is classified by the World Monuments Fund as a highly endangered archaeological site, as a consortium from Cyprus is planning to build a hotel settlement in the immediate vicinity from the ground, to which the settlement could fall victim. In the spring of 2004, excavations began again as part of an interdisciplinary excursion by the British School of Athens and other European universities. The latest research suggests that another Minoan palace could be hidden under the rubble not far from the current excavation site.

Hotel project Cavo Sidero Resort

In the immediate vicinity to the north of the town of Palekastro, construction work for the Cavo Sidero Resort should begin in 2008 under the British Minoan Group , the largest hotel complex ever built in Greece with 7000 beds. The resistance of the population has so far prevented the construction work. Above all, the planned construction of three golf courses in this extremely dry region of Eastern Crete met with rejection. At a hearing before the highest Greek court in Athens in November 2008, at which both supporters and opponents of the project were given the opportunity to comment in writing on the construction project and their respective positions, the presiding judge indicated that the plans were in their current position Phase violated both Greek law and the statutes of the Natura 2000 network . On December 3, 2010, the court ruled that the building permit granted under the Greek Karamanlis government violated the law. At the same time, it showed an accelerated application process, for which the Minoan group submitted the documents in July 2011. A significantly reduced plan for five hotels with a total of 1936 beds, just one 18-hole golf course and a wellness center on a total area of ​​around 22,120 hectares was approved in March 2016. Objections raised to this were rejected in June 2017 and the building permit was declared incontestable. There are still no indications that construction will start (as of May 2019).

See also

Web links

Commons : Palaikastro  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Results of the 2011 census at the National Statistical Service of Greece (ΕΛ.ΣΤΑΤ) (Excel document, 2.6 MB)
  2. Hendrik J. Bruins et al. a .: Geoarchaeoligical tsunami deposits at Palaikastro (Crete) and the Late Minoan IA eruption of Santorini . In: Journal of Archaeological Science . No. 35 . Elsevier, January 2008, ISSN  0305-4403 , p. 191–212 ( abstract [accessed March 12, 2012]).
  3. Hendrik J. Bruins, Johannes van derpflicht, J. Alexander MacGillivray: The Minoan Santorini eruption and tsunami deposits in Palaikastro (Crete): Dating by geology, archeology, 14 C, and Egyptian chronology . In: Radiocarbon . tape 51 , no. 2 . Arizona Board of Regents on behalf on the University of Arizona, 2009, ISSN  0033-8222 , p. 397-411 ( online [accessed March 12, 2012]).
  4. a b Minoan welcomes end to Cavo Sidero project impasse . ( Memento from January 26, 2013 in the web archive ); Retrieved October 28, 2011.
  5. ^ Operational Update - Greece and Cretan project (the “Project”) . ( Memento of the original from August 3, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice., July 11, 2011; Retrieved October 28, 2011 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  6. Radio Cavo Sidero - A luxury hotel on Crete. March 16, 2016
  7. Sfacia Crete Forum: Cavo Sidero luxury resort on Crete gets green light , June 26, 2017