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Knossos Palace

Knossos has the historical importance of being the centre of Minoan civilization, and the ‘seat’ of King Minos and the capital of his state. Strategically built on a hill between the rivers Vlichia and Kirato (today Katsaba). To provide advantages in times of war and the natural grace of being among vineyards, cypress trees, and olive groves. Easy access to both the sea, and Heraklion, the centre of Crete. There was no better place to place the unique stronghold.

Knossos was continually inhabited from the late 7th millennium until the Roman years. Indeed the earliest traces of settlement of Knossos dating back to the Neolithic period (7000-3000 BC). With stone tools and textile weights found in excavations. Settlement phases succeed each other. As the site evolved through the Bronze Age and continued through the Pre-Palatial period (3000-1900 BC). Where space was levelled for construction of a large palace.

The first official palace was built in 2000BC, with important settlements built around it. Until the end of 1600 BC, when a major earthquake destroyed the area of Knossos and the palace. Lo and behold, a second, more majestic palace rose from the ruins, and the Minoans had a chance to build bigger and better than before. Around 1600-1550 BC, the palace materialised again and the community came together to rebuild a city, a stronghold that harboured the heart of Crete. Its population skyrocketed to over 80,000. The history of devastation did not end there, however. A second earthquake was thought to be caused by the eruption of the Thera volcano (Santorini). Destroyed parts of the city once again. A great fire then finished it off completely by 1350 BC.

It was left uninhabited for a spell. Though remained a place of sacred importance. A new era was born with the coming of the Romans, and in 67 BC, Quintus Caecilius Metellus Creticus conquered Knossos. Founding a Roman colony under the name of Colonia Julia Nobilis.

Mutiny peppered the island, and amid the Arab conquest in Crete, Knossos again entered the realms of the forgotten as the port of Heraklion rose in importance. A small settlement was built upon the Roman ruins, referred to as “Makritichos” a relic of the Roman Knossos.
Throughout the many centuries, Knossos rose like a phoenix from the flames, and her palatial beauty still reigns supreme in the centre of Crete.

Good to Know

Distance from the city center
5.5 km
Languages spoken on tours
English, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, French
Private tours are available upon request