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Listed under Archaeological Sites in Heraklion, Greece.

  • Photo of Knossos
  • Photo of Knossos
  • Photo of Knossos
  • Photo of Knossos
Photo of Knossos
Photo by flickr user Travelling Runes
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The story of the Minotaur, his imprisonment in the Labyrinth and his death is one of the best known stories in Greek mythology and this site is supposedly where these events took place. Scholars debate the use of the work Labyrinth and what it could mean but the current meaning still fits, the ruins and the outline of the great palace walls look quite mazelike. Several palaces have been unearthed on Crete which are from the Minoan civilisation and they are all multi storey, with staircase both inside and outside the walls, have many courtyards of different sizes and light wells dropping several floors. They also have rooms for administration and record keeping. The palace at Knossos was built over three hundred years beginning in around 1700 BC, it’s made up of around 1300 rooms connected by a complicated series of hallways and passages and rises to five floors above ground. The ground area taken up is around six acres. Storage and production rooms for pressing oil and making pottery are part of the complex and a series of aqueducts brought fresh water into the palace through terracotta pipes. The light wells and courtyards solved many of the light issues that must have plagued designs on this scale.

Frescos depicting all sorts of scenes decorated the palace and parts have survived, many in vivid colours. This must be one of the highlights of a visit to this site. In reconstructions of the frescos you can see that the images depict younger or ageless adults, the women with white skin and the men a reddy, brown, but the sexes carrying out many of the same tasks, fishing, flower gathering and sports. Another unique feature of this palace is the red upside down columns, wider at the top than at the base.

Knossos was not excavated properly until 1900, by Arthur Evans who purchased the whole site and ‘reconstructed’ parts of it. As you approach the ruins today, there are three pits where you can see the remains of previous buildings. Once inside, the throne room, which has a throne made out of gypsum and a sink for ceremonial bathing, workshops and storage facilities have been ‘restored’ by Evans.

Written by  Howard Amble.

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Knossos Palace

Knossos is one of the most interesting places you can ever visit. Linked to two of the most famous myths of Ancient Greece, home of the Minotaur and the starting point of the first man to ever fly- Ikaros.

You would think that after all the earthquakes, battles and tsunamis that hit the Palace not much would be there for you to visit. But actually once you step into the courtyard you can see most the external walls and with a little bit imagination you can picture the entire complex. The fact that you can walk amongst the ruins and actually enter the famous Throne room helps you sense the aura of the place.

The beautiful wall drawings depicting images of sea creatures and flowers are still very much visible. The best time to go is during the summer, when the Greek sun is brighter than ever. Once you get there you can hire a guide, but it would be better if you just walked around it by yourself. There are plenty of small tourist shops outside the gates where you can buy memorabilia but be careful, they spice up the prices.


According to legend, Knossos is the site of the palace of King Minos, famous for his labyrinth and Minotaur. The site dates from the Neolithic period until Roman times and is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete.

The Palace of Knossos is the largest of the preserved Minoan palatial centres and contains workshops, shrines, a wine press, storerooms, a banqueting hall and a throne room.

The site has been substantially rebuilt to attract visitors.

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