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(also Phaestus), an ancient city in southern Crete and an important center of the Aegean culture. Italian archaeologists excavated the city between 1900 and 1966.
In the Neolithic period and the early Bronze Age, Phaistos was a small settlement. A monumental royal palace was built in the city circa 2200 B.C. The ensemble, which had much in common with the palace at Cnossus, was noted for its three paved courtyards, its sanctuaries, and its amphitheater with seating for 500. The Phaistos palace was rebuilt and expanded after an earthquake in the mid-18th century B.C. The new palace exhibited a high quality of construction. The walls of the numerous rooms and long corridors were made of cut slabs and were decorated with frescoes. A branched water conduit and many storerooms were built. The courtyard, which was surrounded with columns, was noteworthy. The city spread out around the hill on which the palace stood.
Phaistos was destroyed by an earthquake circa 1470 B.C., after which only a small settlement remained on the site.
REFERENCESPendlebury, J. Arkheologiia Krita. Moscow, 1950. (Translated from English.)
Pernier, L. Il palazzo minoico di Festos, vols. 1–2. Rome, 1935–51.
Levi, D. “La conclusione degli scavi a Festòs.” Annuario della Scuola archeologica di Atene e delle missioni italiane in Oriente, 1965–66, vols. 43–4 (new series, vols. 27–28), pp. 313–99.
T. V. BLAVATSKAIA