The Minoan Civilization flourished in Crete from ca 2000 BC until 1500 BC.
Reaching its peak at 1600BC, this remarkable civilization showcased some amazing sophisticated artifacts, such as jewelry, pottery, vibrant frescoes and more.
Knossos, located approximately 5 kilometers south of Heraklion, is the most important site of the Minoan civilization, continuously inhabited from 7000 BC, (Neolithic period) until the Roman Times.
The city is mentioned as ‘ko-no-so’ in 14th century Linear B tablets.
Restored North Entrance depicting a bull fresco – credits to 112utew
Knossos was a major center of trade and economy, maintaining ties with many Eastern Mediterranean Cities. It had large palatial buildings, luxurious rock-cut cave & tholos tombs.
Artist’s impression of the palace at Knossos, 3500 BC – 1100 BC – courtesy of history.heraklion.gr
The palace had easy access both to the sea and to the Cretan interior. According to tradition, Knossos was the seat of wise King Minos.
The high quality findings from Knossos are housed in Heraklion Archaeological Museum
The first palace was destroyed at approximately 1700BC (possibly by an earthquake) and on its ruins, a second and larger palace was built.
Minos Kalokerinos was the first person to conduct short-term excavation in 1878 and a few years afterwards Sir Arthur Evans has started a long-term excavation, which uncovered the entire palace.
Sir Arthur Evans has carried out an extensive reconstruction of the palace after 1900.
Evans coined the term Minoan in reference to the legendary King Minos and it is said that Knossos was probably the site of the famous labyrinth.
The four principal Minoan Palace sites were at Knossos, Phaistos, Malia and Zakros.
The palace was a multi-storey building of 20.000sqm with impressive adorning frescoes. The technology level of the Minoans was very advanced as it is evident from the architectural and structural features, the light wells, the complex drainage and their water-supply systems.
Throne Room with an alabaster seat – courtesy of 112utew
Τ.Κ. 71409, Knosos (Prefecture of Iraklio)
Telephone: +30 2810 231940
Fax: +30 2810 322570
Open: Every day 08:00 – 15:00. Last admission 14:45
1 January: closed
6 January: 08:30 – 15:00
Shrove Monday: 08:30 – 15:00
25 March: closed
Good Friday: 08:00 – 12:00
Holy Saturday: 08:00 – 19:00
1 May: closed
Easter Sunday: closed
Holy Spirit Day: 08:00 – 19:00
15 August: 08:00 – 20:00
28 October: 08:30 – 15:00
25 December: closed
26 December: closed
Find Knossos Palace on the Map
Some of the visitors’ reviews by TripAdvisor
By Musquat, San Juan Cosala, Mexico
A Must See Despite Dubious Historical Accuracy
The palace, a 20-minute, under €2 bus ride from central Heraklion, is a must for any visitor to Crete. There is an €8 admission charge and guides are available at the front gate should you wish one. There is excellent, detailed signage, so I took a self-guided tour lasting about 2 hours. There is some controversy about the accuracy of of restoration work carried out about a century ago, but this doesn’t detract from awe inspired while strolling around an almost 4,000 year old world-heritage site.
By Mdennah, Olomouc, Czech Republic –
Out of season closes early
I was mistaken by checking the opening hours on Google. The results reported opening until 18.00. How I was surprised (not pleased) when I arrived at 14.30 and learned that I have only 30 mins left until closing! I quickly bought ticked for 8 Euro an mad a fast rune around the palace. It was thrilling to see and feel a place which I only saw in art history textbook! Would be great to spend there at least 1.5 hours.
By driller52, Darwin
Incredible achievement of early civilisation
This is the site of Minoan society and the legend of the labyrinth and the half bull half man minatour. An older generation of archeologists has reconstructed parts and this is frowned upon by the purists. However if done well it gives you some idea what the original civilisation looked like. This one was 3000 BC and had running water, drainage and toilets as well as theatre and a full society. Somehow we lost this in the Middle Ages. Found the Site interesting and the local guide engaged as we arrived was extremely knowledgable, had good English and provided some wonderful background about Crete. Did this trip via the red bus from a cruise. Good value. The guide was shared and cost total of 80E.
By Anckie, San Jose, California
Best visited after seeing the Archaeological museum where the artefacts from the site are stored. The history is amazing and profound but without seeing what was actually excavated one might easily overlook the exquisite world of the Knossos Palace, a world well ahead of its times. I wish the site was better inscribed or came with audio guides or a downloadable app. There are english speaking tour guides you can hire as an alternative. But you have to prepare in advance if you wish to make it a DIY tour, which is well worth the effort if you were interested in the ancient history of Europe.
By Sarka G, Prague – Czech Republic
The centre of Minoan civilisation
The centre of Minoan civilisation which began circa 2000 BC the palace was a multi-storey building on an area of 20000m2 they used skylights to bring daylight to rooms 3 storeys underground, they used complex drainage and water-supply systems and their god was a woman , they portrayed women as white skinned, wearing long dresses with their chests exposed as a sign of fertility, and men as brown-skinned, in short skirts serving the women ❤ bless them, please resurrect the Minoans!
Saltpilgrim, Paros – Greece
Ένας από τους κορυφαίους αρχαιολογικούς μας χώρους. Μπορεί μεγάλο μέρος από το “μύθο” της Κνωσού να στηρίζεται στο προσωπικό (;) όραμα ενός ανθρώπου (Έβανς) και όσα βλέπουμε να αποτελούν σε σημαντικό βαθμό αποτέλεσμα της δικής του (Ίσως ξεπερασμένης) οπτικής, όμως η Κνωσός δεν παύει να είναι μοναδική. Απλά, ξεχάστε όλα σχεδόν όσα ξέρετε, κρατήστε τα μάτια “ανοιχτά” και θαυμάστε. Αδύνατον να μη σας συνεπάρουν το θέαμα, η ατμόσφαιρα, τα σχήματα και τα χρώματα. Πέρασμα από Κρήτη χωρίς Κνωσό ΔΕΝ υπάρχει!
By Nicolas G
Το πιο αξιόλογο σημείο της Κρήτης
Η έδρα του βασιλιά Μίνωα και πρωτεύουσα του Μινωικού Πολιτισμού, η Κνωσός, είναι χτισμένη πάνω σε λόφο σε στρατηγικό σημείο. Μπαίνοντας στον αρχαιολογικό χώρο αμέσως σου έρχονται στο νου όλα αυτά που διάβαζες στα βιβλία της ιστορίας για το Λαβύρινθο με το Μινώταυρο και του Δαίδαλου με τον Ίκαρο. Περπατάς και αφουγκράζεσαι την ιστορία του πολιτισμού σου. Πλούσιοι εσωτερικοί τοιχογραφίες, ψηφιδωτά δάπεδα, και το πιο πολυφωτογραφιμένο το διαμέρισμα της Βασίλισσας, με την τοιχογραφία των δελφινιών. Ο χώρος είναι τεράστιος και γεμάτος με αξιόλογα ευρήματα.
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