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The Palace of Knossos

The Minoan palace of the colours!

Knossos was the most prominent centre of the Minoan Civilisation, one of the magnificent civilisations of human kind. The renowned ancient city with the palace is the largest and most typical archaeological site ever discovered on Crete. It is located at a distance of 6 km SE of Heraklion amidst olive groves, vineyards and cypress forests. According to tradition, it was the seat of the legendary king Minoa. Apart from being the royal family's residence, it was also the administrative and religious centre for the whole region. The Palace is also connected with thrilling legends, such as the myth of the Labyrinth with the Minotaur, and the story of Daedalus and Icarus.

The brilliant Minoan palace of Knossos (was constructed in two phases: first in 1900 B.C. and then in 1700-1450 B.C.) occupies an area 22,000 sq. m. You enter the central court via the south entrance. You then come across three wings. The throne room is situated in the west wing.

The eastern wing contains the royal chambers, the double axes room, the queen's megaron with the dolphin frescos, the workshop areas – where the stone carver's workshop holds an eminent place – and the storage rooms. At the north entrance is the custom's house with columns and pillars. To the North West outside the palace are the lustral basin, the theatre and the royal road that leads to the small palace. To the northeast of the main palace you can visit the royal villa and 1 km further to the S is the royal tomb.
The first person, who conducted a systematic excavation at Knossos in 1878, was the lover of antiquity Minos Kalokerinos. However, luck was on the Sir Arthur Evans' side, the Englishman who first came to Knossos in 1894 and discovered the palace. The excavation works commenced shortly after Crete's independence in 1900 and continued with several interruptions for 35 years, by Evans personally and his associates.