Malia, Crete Island
Intending visitors to the Minoan Palace Ruins near Malia should note that that the site is closed until April 2010. We attempted to visit them on Saturday January 31st 2010, having noted advertised opening times of Tuesday to Sunday 0830-1500 (ie closed only on Mondays). When we arrived everything was locked up and unattended. A cardboard sign had been emplaced advising that the site was closed temporarily. After several phone calls we eventually learned that they were closed until April, due to lack of funds to pay staff. We recommend that visitors telephone ahead to confirm access to sites they hope to visit, even important ones such as Malia.
The archaeological site of Malia is located 3 km East of Malia and is well worth a visit. Excavations were begun in 1915 by J. Chatzidakis and were continued by the French Archaeological School. The site was inhabited in the Neolithic and early Minoan period (6000- 2000 BC), but very little trace of this remains.
The Palace of Malia, which covered an area of 7,500 sq.m. , is the third- largest of the Minoan Palaces and is considered the most "provincial" from the architectural point of view.
According to tradition the third son of Zeus and Europa, Sarpedon, ruled here.
The first Palace was built in 1900 BC and destroyed in 1700 BC when a new Palace was built. Following the fate of the other palaces in Crete it was also destroyed in 1450 BC . and the present ruins are mainly those of the new palace.
The Palace had two floors and its entrance is from the western paved Court, trough a procession passage, there is a central court, loggia, theatre, sanctuaries, Royal quarters, workshops and magazines.
To the North of the western court is the hypostyle crypt which is protected from the weather by a canopy. The large underground room, whose ceiling was supported by columns, is considered as a council chamber for the political deliberations of the local lords and a forebear of the classical Greek Pritaneion which had a similar function.
Entrance €4 for Adults
It seems that most Greek resorts have a "bar street", and again this one in Malia runs from the main road to the beach!
It is just clogged up with bars, cafes and nothing of character!!
Good for a cool iced beer in the summer though!!
Malia boasts one of the best beaches on Crete.
There are two beaches - one of which is much quieter than the other. But both are sandy.
There are loads of watersport activities to be enjoyed here.
The main street is bustling and home to the majority of the accommodation, restaurants, bars and clubs.
It is a real "Brit" based resort, with the bars having the union jack hanging outside, and most have Tv's with British Comedy showing!
I think 90% of the bars which we went into had "only fools and horses" on!!
There is not much selection of restaurants and good Greek food here, its mainly pub grub, although you can find a few.
"Old Malia" north of the beach and main street, has much more character, there are bakeries, shops, and you will find locals in this area, with the typical Tavernas.
For a "Beach and Beer" holiday you will not be disapointed, but if you like a bit more character and you are not a night owl - go elsewhere.
The beaches in Chersonissos and Stalis are not very good, to be honest - to narrow, to many people, some parts just to near to the streets - you could grab the driving cars while laying on your sunbed. the farer you could on the route chersonissos-stalis-malia, the better get the beaches. sandy, wide, less people (by the way, the water is cristall-clear everywhere!!). The absolutely best beach is outside malia, near to the excavations - the "Tropical Beach". Only few people, large and sandy, sunbeds and sunshades can be rented for 2 euro/day each or you can just lay on your towel. A nice taavern offers good food and drinks and you can use their sanitation for free.
You should also visit other Minoan palaces on Crete - especially in Malia. It was not reconstructed as Knossos and we like it much more than Knossos. You can use your imagination to see it. In Knossos there were a lot of tourists and in Malia there were a few of them. So in Malia one can admire the ruins of the oldest European civilisation in peace and silence. On one of the stones we founded the double-axe, the Minoan symbol for power and strength. It was so amazing to walk through the rests of such beautiful buildings...
At 7,500 square metres, it is the third largest of the Minoan palaces. The Minoan name for the Palace is not known and it takes its name from a local town.
The first palace to be constructed on the site was built around 1900 BC. Little is known of this palace though some finds from the Old Palace period attest to the wealth of the Old Palace at Malia. This palace was later destroyed, probably by an earthquake.
The second palace, the ruins you see now, was built about 1650 BC and is similar to the old one. The second palace was destroyed around 1450 BC, along with the other Minoan sites in Crete. The various functions of a palace -- religious, political, economic -- are all in evidence here.
Walking around Old Malia's cobled narrow streets you look at the houses and find these straw like crosses on every door, not sure if its to ward off evil, bring good luck or what, but its nice to see, if anyone could tell me what they are for that would be great
However Malia is a seaside resort there are also ruines of a Minoan palace.
These ruins are interesting because they show how people lived during these days. You can see store-rooms, sanctuaries and so on.