Close to the vibrant Cretan city of Heraklion, on the islands northern coast, there’s a Minoan Palace overlooking the sea. Less popular than the famous Palace of Knossos, Malia is of specific interest for archaeology enthusiasts, charmed by its legend.

Built in 1900 BC the palace is believed to have belonged to the mythical King Sarpedon, King Minos’ brother and son of none other than Zeus and Europa. Spanning an area of 7,500 square meters, the palace had been destroyed in 1700 BC and eventually abandoned in 1450 BC. The main element that attracts visitors is that the palace’s structure remains intact, offering visitors the chance to walk around and imagine how the edifices would stand.

The epicenter of the palace is the great Central Courtyard, standing at 48 x 23 meters. All around it are different rooms, other used for storage and other for religious and other types of ceremonial functions.

Two well preserved buildings, as well as seven smaller ones have been excavated, the latter one’s presumably used by craftsmen. Archaeologists believe that Malia was one of the most advanced cities of the Minoan era, but they still have not been able to figure out which was the ancient name the city, which had extended well outside the palace.