Crete has many beautiful places you can explore anytime you visit the island, including some that even have connections to ancient mythology. Knossos is one such place and is a fine example of Greek architecture and imagination. Even though the site is in ruins, you can still see the intricate structures built centuries ago. The history of Knossos goes back so many years that the city is considered the oldest in Europe.
The City of Knossos
The ruins of Knossos can be dated back to the Neolithic, the Bronze Age and the Classical period, such is its varied past. The site has been through several waves of archaeological explorations, which have yielded a wide range of discoveries. For example, pottery and other artefacts have been found in the city and taken to museums, such as the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, where visitors can see them.
The Palace of Knossos
Amongst the locations you can visit in Knossos is the palace, although ‘palace’ might not be the most correct designation, as no monarch ever lived there. Still, most of the rooms still look as if royalty once lived in them. This was the ceremonial and political centre of the Minoan civilisation and was built as a maze of workrooms, living spaces and a central square. It also had a water management system and ventilation in the form of porticoes and air shafts.
The palace was abandoned at the end of the Late Bronze Age, although no one really knows why. The architecture is still mostly intact and remains an incredible sight to everyone who wishes to visit, especially because of the colourful designs that adorn the walls and the ceiling – a dye that comes from ochre – and that make it so recognisable.
The Mythology of Knossos
Greek myths are amongst the world’s most popular ones, and it’s easy to see why. With such a vast family of gods and heroes, their stories are woven in intricate patterns that span many years and locations. Knossos is famously linked to King Minos, who dwelt in the palace; the legend says that he had Daedalus build a labyrinth to contain the Minotaur; Daedalus also constructed a dance floor for Queen Ariadne. There are a lot of theories and legends surrounding this palace, so you can just pick your favourite and visit Knossos!
For lovers of history and mythology, Knossos has everything they could ever wish for. The beautiful site remains a popular tourist attraction, partly due to its connections to the myth of King Minos and the Minotaur, so you can’t miss it when you visit Crete.