Once upon (3700 years ago) high priests, pilgrims and local shepherds used to reside in a palace of more than 100 rooms. At an altitude slightly below 1200m this snow covered little upland plain was an important Minoan settlement.
In 1982, the Greek archaeologist Yannis Sakellarakis unveiled a large, two-story Minoan building at an altitude slightly below 1200m. The building’s unusual size and careful construction, which incorporates some features pertinent only to palatial architecture, has attracted the interest of archaeologists. The significance of the discovery is emphasized even further by the fact that it lies considerably above the attitudinal limit of Minoan and modern Cretan settlements.
Excavations have unearthed only a small part of the building and are still under way. However, they have made clear that the structure has been strongly built and is unusually well-preserved, with some of the remaining walls rising up to 3 meters in height. It has a strict north-south orientation and extends to at least 1350 m², with 40 rooms on the ground floor alone, some of which with frescoes, Unique to Minoan Crete is the discovery of a large pottery workshop. Equally important are the unearthed artefacts made from processed rock crystal.
The building belongs to the Neopalatial period and was abandoned after a big earthquake around 1600 BC. Archaeological research is being conducted under the directions of Profs. Yannis Sakellarakis and Diamantis Panagiotopoulos of the University of Heidelberg in order to provide answers to important questions concerning the inhabitants of Zominthos and the role played by it in Minoan Crete.