Phaistos King’s Apartment

King’s Megaron

Next to the Queen’s Apartment is the building known as the “King’s Megaron” (the King’s apartment) of the Palace of Phaistos. The area is divided into smaller rooms by polythyra, while the lightwell in the corner of the apartment provided light and air. The floor was luxuriously paved with alabaster slabs and the walls were decorated with frescoes.

Phaistos King’s Megaron or King's Apartment

The northernmost side of the King’s apartment forms a stoa, which nowadays we would describe as a porch with a roof supported by columns. It has a magnificent view of the imposing Mount Ida or Psiloritis rising in the centre of Crete, the highest mountain and the timeless symbol of the island.

Adjacent to the king’s apartment is a lustral pool, magnificently constructed and decorated, with elaborate steps leading down into it. It is thought that it was used for ritual cleansing, not necessarily in water. Cleansing here has a metaphorical meaning and the place was considered sacred.

The last room in the King’s Megaron was presumably a lavatory, with only minor differences to modern ones. It may even be the first lavatory on European soil.

End of Tour

This is the end of our tour of the archaeological site of Phaistos. Climb the staircase in front of you, and you’re back where you started in the Northwest Court. Now, as you gaze out over the palace one last time, you may be able to see it in a different light and imagine it in its full glory 4,000 years ago.

map of Phaistos archaeological site

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