Minoan civilization - summary

The first palaces in Crete and in Malia appear around 1900 BC, a period we call Proto Palatial. By that time, Malia already consists of a group of settlements, which probably dates back to the Neolithic period, forming a simple agricultural community. Malia’s influence at that time is thought to have reached from the Bay of Mirabello to as far as the upland plateau of Lassithi, maybe even to its south coast. Around 1700 BC the first palaces and their surrounding settlements are destroyed, either by a severe earthquake or by martial acts resulting from inner strife. This marks the end of the Proto Palatial period.

Though the destruction must have been a set back, Minoan civilization continued to flourish, and with the palaces being rebuilt – bigger, better and more beautiful – the society entered its golden age. This period is called the Neo Palatial period. Most of the ruins and of what we see today in the museums dates from this period.

Definite destruction of the palaces together with most buildings in Crete came about in around 1450 BC, with only Knossos surviving for fifty more years. From the declining years of the Minoan civilization until the early 20th century, Crete was ruled by a series of foreign invaders, who have marked the land and its people’s character and have left their traces in landscape and cities alike.