(Greek: Μάλια) is a coastal town and a municipality
on the island of Crete
, in Greece
, 34km east of Heraklion
, the Cretan capital city. The town (pop. 3,722 in 2001) is the seat of the Municipality of Mália
(pop. 6,212), located in the northeast corner of Heraklion Prefecture
. The municipality also includes the villages of Mochos (1,155), Krassi (348), and Stalis
(987), and has a total land area of 60.720 km². The town is a tourist attraction, primarily for its prolific archeological site and nightlife. The Minoan town ruins lie 3 km east of the site and cover an area of approximately 1km². The original name for the town is not known, but it is said that Emperor Pannos had called it Aegean Sky
as early as 69 BC.
The palace of Malia, dating from the Middle Bronze Age
, was destroyed by an earthquake
during the Late Bronze Age; Knossos
and other sites were also destroyed at that time. The palace was later rebuilt toward the end of the Late Bronze Age. Most of the ruins visible today date from this second period of construction. The palace features a giant central courtyard, 48m x 23m in size. On the south side are two sets of steps leading upwards and a maze of tiny rooms. Also here is a strange carved stone called a kernos stone
, which looks like a millstone with a cup attached to the side of it. On the north side of the courtyard were storage rooms with giant earthenware pithos
jars, up to two metres tall. These were used for holding grain, olive oil
and other liquids; the floor of these rooms has a complex drainage system for carrying away spilled liquids.
The palace of Malia was discovered in 1915 by Hadzidakis, a Greek archaeologist. It was fully excavated from 1922 onwards by the French School at Athens in collaboration with Greek scholars. Importantly, the palace was surrounded by a Minoan town which has only recently been uncovered. Excavation is ongoing. Important parts of the old and new excavations are covered by a series of large semi-transparent roofs, which protect them from the elements. In places tourists are allowed to wander among the ruins; in others, walkways allow passage above. There are rooms which have been identified as metal workshops, ceramic workshops and meeting rooms; there is also a large residential dwelling with on-suite bath, which is similar to a design at Phaistos, both taking advantage of expansive views.
Malia the Resort
Modern day Malia is a holiday resort, tourism
are the main economic activities in the town, with plenty of hotels
, gift shops
, bars and nightclubs. Malia has become one of the most popular tourist locations of Crete, and one of the most popular in Europe, rivalling Ibiza
. It is mainly visited by young British
tourists who are not looking for peace and quiet. The prominence of Malia as one of the leading spots for nightlife in Europe is cemented by the attraction of big name DJs and events. The Main Strip is home to many bars, clubs, taverns and restaurants. This is supported by the many close by hotels and apartments in Malia and the immediate area.
Malia has a fine sandy beach which starts from the bottom of the srip and continues towards the East near to the Minoan palace of Malia.
During the summer of 2008, Malia attracted increased attention from the British news media, centering on the wild nightlife and the anti social behaviour attributed to this. Various newspapers and television news services such as BBC News and GMTV sent reporters to highlight the growing concern at the violence and cheap alcohol being plied in the popular resort.