The Central Court of Phaistos, oriented north to east and with its paving still preserved, dates from the first palace of circa 2000 BC. It looks imposing because to east and west it is bordered by stoai: narrow covered passageways supported by alternating pillars and columns.
The Central Court is the lungs of every Minoan palace. It is set in the centre of the palace, open to the air, and provides the rooms of the surrounding buildings with light and air.
In the northwest corner of the Central Court there was an altar on which the worshippers placed their offerings.
On the north side of the Central Court, next to the altar, there is a wide entrance providing access to the North Wing.
The façade facing onto the Central Court is elaborately decorated and impressive, as the North Wing contained the apartments of the royal family.
Imagine a large, double-leaved wooden door framed by small pillars, with niches containing beautiful frescoes immediately inside it. This is where the guards who controlled the access to the royal apartments stood.
Another guard was placed just inside the entrance, on the left of the corridor, to control the stairs and the northwest side of the area.
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