About Knossos

Knossos is the site of the most important and better known palace of Minoan civilization. According to the tradition, it was the seat of the legendary king Minos.

The site was inhabited continuously from the Neolithic period (7000-3000 BC) until the late Antiquity. The first epigraphical testimony derives from the 14th century BC Linear B tablets, where the city is referred to as Ko-no-so.

The city spread out over a wide area around the palace, with particularly important monuments and buildings, roads, cemeteries, workshops, quarries and sacred spaces.

The Minoan civilisation that developed over the course of two millennia (2800-1100 BC) culminated in a high peak for its time, boasting marvellous buildings, a ground-breaking water and drainage system, equal participation of men and women in religious and social life, and masterpieces of art. The Minoan civilisation is connected to a great chapter in Greek mythology: the abduction of Europa by Zeus in the form of a bull, the ingenious Daedalus and his son Icarus, the Minotaur and the Labyrinth, are all inextricably linked with the civilisation of Crete and its palaces.

The palace of Knossos, was the most important centre of the Minoan civilization. It is located in the Regional Unit of Heraklion, on the “tou Tselebi i Kephala” hill, west of the River Kairatos, and covers an area of approximately 20,000 sq.m.

It was founded circa 2000 BC (Protopalatial period) and, following many destructions, was rebuilt on the same site and flourished in the Neopalatial period (1750-1430 BC). The major earthquakes that hit Crete shortly before the end of the Middle Bronze Age resulted in the destruction of many Minoan centres. However; Knossos, was the only Minoan palace that was still partly inhabited in the Postpalatial period (1400-1100 BC). These destructions lead also, to the beginning of the fall of the Minoan civilization.

The palace of Knossos was originally uncovered by Minos Kalokairinos in 1878, excavated though by Sir Arthur Evans in the first three decades of the 20th century.