Makrygialos Minoan Villa
The wonderful location of Makrygialos naturally attracted the attention of the Minoans, who left behind significant traces of habitation. The most important Minoan site in the area is the villa at Plakakia, Makrygialos, west of today’s village. The villa, dated to the Late Minoan IB period (1480 – 1425 BC), is a Minoan palace in miniature. Located very close to a cove, probably with a harbour, it controlled the agricultural production of the coastal plain and the maritime trade of the south coast.
The building complex is laid out around the central court, while the rooms have paved floors and plaster walls. The main areas include auxiliary spaces, courts and cult areas where religious ceremonies were carried out. The villa was eventually destroyed by fire.
The most significant movable finds were the clay and stone vases, figurines and a sealstone depicting a sacred ship, a priestess and a sacred palm tree in the centre. The architecture, the small number of household rooms and the importance of the finds, all indicate the religious function of the villa, which may have been a major cult centre for the surrounding area.
Makrigialos Roman Villa
On the outskirts of the modern village, on a site with a stunning view of the sea, stands the Roman Villa of Makrigialos. Today only the foundations of the villa are visible, but it originally formed part of a larger installation, dated from the 1st c. BC to the 3rd c. AD.
The villa consisted of rooms and storerooms set around a central courtyard, as well as a bath-house complex with an open-air reservoir. A large room with a luxurious floor served as the reception hall. The villa entrance had a mosaic floor decorated with geometric and plant motifs. The walls and floors of the main rooms were faced and paved with marble slabs. There was also a funerary room with a built burial chamber, and a cooking oven with an arched opening, containing ashes.
In the southeast part of the villa was the bath-house (balneum) with marble-paved floor and steps, covering a sizeable part of the villa. A large mosaic floor with geometric patterns was found in the outdoor area next to the plunge-bath (piscina). The almost total lack of any movable finds among the impressive architectural remains is due to looting, probably by pirates during the Byzantine era.