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Minoan cemetery of Armeni in Crete

The Minoan cemetery of Armeni is located about 10 kilometres south of Rethymno, near the village of Armeni. It may not sound so fun to see an old cemetery, and it is not fun either, but it is interesting, and very exciting. At least in my opinion. If you disagree, you can always boast about that you have been here, because the cemetery is quite unknown and little visited.

 

The Minoan cemetery of Armeni 10 kilometres south of Rethymno in Crete.

The Minoan cemetery of Armeni 10 kilometres south of Rethymno.

 

 

The cemetery has about 200 tombs from the late Minoan era, consequently after the fall of the great palaces of Knossos and Phaestos. The tombs are usually large as chambers and cut directly into the ground. The entrance passages are narrow and leads via ramps, and in some cases steps, down to the actual tombs. The entrances were, in most cases, covered by a large stone, some of them still remaining. Some of the tombs have a pillar in the middle of the chamber.

 

Entrance to one of the tombs at the Minoan cemetery of Armeni in Crete.

Entrance to one of the tombs.


Excavations have been going on since 1969. Lots of finds have been made, including jewellery, bronze tools, vases and pottery. Also clay larnakes (ash coffins) decorated with double axes and scenes from ritual bull hunts.

 

One of the larger tombs at Minoan cemetery of Armeni.

One of the larger tombs in Minoan cemetery of Armeni.

 

Many of the findings are on display at the Archaeological Museum in Chania, and in Rethymno. What is perhaps most interesting is that archaeologists have not been able to explain why there was such a large cemetery right here, because there were no large Minoan villages nearby.

Excavations have recently been carried out in and around the village of Kastellos located a few kilometres southwest of the cemetery. In 2012, Yiannis Tzedakis (who have led the excavations since the start) could tell that it was quite certain that there is a buried Minoan village under Kastellos.

 

Inside one of the tombs at the Minoan cemetery of Armeni in Crete.

Inside one of the tombs.

 

Certainly it sounds thrilling. Don't miss this amazing place. Open Tuesday - Sunday between 08.30-15.00. Free entrance.

 

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