Knossos and Minoan Sites

The Palace of Knossos is situated on the north coast of Crete, an island in Greece. It is sometimes referred to as Minoan Palace or Cretan Palace. The site is said to have a relationship with Greek Mythology. It is the home of King Minos, designed by Daedalus and built by the Minoan civilization. There are other Greek mythological figures that were imprisoned inside the palace – Icarus, Minotaur, and Theseus. The palace was built in 1900 BC, wherein the first palace was constructed around 2000 – 1580 BC. However, it was destroyed because of a natural disaster. Then, the second palace was built as a renovation that was also destroyed again after some time.

Knossos Palace is known to be the most visited site in Crete. It is the home of 1,300 rooms that contain different artefacts that reflect how Minoan civilization lived before. Found inside the palace are the throne room, royal villa, temple, and hospice. It is the place where religious acts and ceremonies of the Minoans were held in ancient times. The palace is important because it was considered the centre of administration of Crete itself during those times. Additionally, political acts were held inside the palace as well. However, some people do not consider the site a palace, but rather a place where cult activities were held. Not only is Knossos known for the archaeological and historical site, but it is known as well to have world-class beaches. To get to the site, tourists can rent a car at the airport or ride a bus to take them to Knossos.

What is the history of the Knossos?

Knossos, sometimes known as Cnossus, is the oldest city in Europe that is considered to be the home of King Minos. King Minos is known to be the leader of Crete and is the son of Zeus and Europa. Additionally, he is considered to be the king of Minoan. The site is considered to be the capital city of Minoans as well. The first people who occupied Knossos came from Anatolia, which is now known as Asia Minor. They have constructed a community that produces wheat and raises animals. During a certain period, the people started producing bronze, pottery, seals, and jewellery. Minoan jewellery is the main highlight of the site that was located on the Minoan burial sites. Eventually, a hieroglyphic script was created at the same time. Furthermore, the ancestors began trading with Egyptians as well. At the beginning of the Middle Minoan period, the first palace was constructed. The palace has isolated structures that are constructed around the rectangular court. However, the palace was destroyed in 1720 BC because of an earthquake. It was then rebuilt, but was destroyed again in 1400 BC because of a fire. The palace was never rebuilt again after that.

What is the Mythical Background of the Palace of Knossos?

In Greek Mythology, the Palace of Knossos is related to different known Greek people besides King Minos – Theseus, Minotaur, Icarus, and Daedalus. Theseus is the son of Aegeus and Aethra. He was the greatest king of Athens who unified Attica. Theseus was once known to be imprisoned at the palace, where he met Ariadne, King Minos’ daughter. Ariadne asked Daedalus, a famous architect, to save her from Theseus. Theseus wanted to kill Minotaur, a monster that was half bull and half man that King Minos kept in the dark labyrinth of the palace. He succeeded in killing Minotaur with the help of Daedalus. Daedalus is the one who told Ariadne to give Theseus a thread for him to escape. Theseus indeed did escape, and Daedalus, along with his son, Icarus, was imprisoned by the King of Minos because of it. Daedalus planned on escaping the palace by building wings made of wax that would be attached to them. These wings made it possible for him and his son to fly out of the palace.

When was the Palace of Knossos built?

The Palace of Knossos was built on a small hill in 1900 BC. Daedalus is an architect in Greek mythology that was believed to be the one who designed the palace. Then, the palace was built with the help of Minoan civilization. The first palace of Knossos was constructed in 2000 – 1580 BC. The palace was built using a mixture of stones, rubble, plaster, and wood.

Why was Knossos built?

Knossos was built to protect people from attacks outside the island. This is why the palace has large and thick walls. Then, when it was destroyed, the rebuilt palace no longer had large and thick walls, as there was little to no threat any more. It was built that way to demonstrate a more gentle environment for the people inside and outside the palace. The palace was also built for people to hold ceremonies inside the open courtyard. The name of the palace goes way back to the Neolithic period that refers to the major city of the island of Crete.

What is known about the ancient Minoan civilization?

Minoan civilization is known to be the people who constructed the Palace. The civilization blossomed in the Bronze Age. However, they do not call themselves Minoans; rather, Arthur Evans is the one who named them Minoans. This is because when he excavated the place, it reminded him of King Minos from Greek Mythology. Minoans are known to be the builders of the palace of Knossos. They are said to be connected to Mycenaeans, a civilization that consists of warriors and outstanding engineers. This civilization has created its own civilization as well in the north of Greece.

What is the Knossos Palace famous for?

The Knossos Palace is known for its 1,300 rooms and four wings that contain different important artefacts. The four wings of the palace were constructed around the central courtyard. The west wing is where the Propylaea and Double Horns are found. Propylaea is the monumental gate of a temple. Double horns are known to be a religious symbol of the Minoan cult. On the east wing, a Double Axe and a Dolphin mural can be found in the rooms. The Zatriki Corridor is located in this wing as well, where ancient people used to play chess. The customs and stone theatre are found on the north wing. Additionally, the palace is known for its relation to Greek mythology, as mentioned above.

What are the facts about the Palace of Knossos?

Minoan civilizations first occupied the palace in the 7th millennium BC, and it was later abandoned in 1350 BC. The same year was the time that Minoan civilization was dissolved. It is the place where Minoan civilizations held ceremonies and political activities. Even though the palace was designed by Daedalus, he knows that he cannot escape the palace by foot, as it is like a maze. The site was discovered in 1878 and excavations started in 1900 AD. It was led by Sir Arthur Evans, an English archaeologist, along with his team that lasted for 35 years. Back then, the palace was only known in Greek Mythology before it was discovered in the 20th century. The place was even considered the largest of Minoan palaces in Crete.

What to expect in the Palace of Knossos?

With the 1500,000 square feet size of the Knossos Palace, the site is known to be home to 1,300 rooms. Inside the palace, there are courts, piano nobile, throne room, royal flats, workshops, and a drainage system. The west court is the marketplace of the palace that serves as the place for public meetings. The central court is the courtyard wherein the remnants dating back to the Neolithic era are found. The throne room is the most popular part of the palace. It is said to be the room of a priest or priestess. The royal flats feature a grand staircase, a queen’s bathroom, and a king’s room. The workshop is the place where tools and items such as smiths and potters are produced. The drainage system is an intricate drainage system that comprises interconnecting pipes.

How to get to the Palace of Knossos

Knossos is situated in the south of Heraklion in Crete. Crete is the largest island in Greece and can be reached by ferry or aeroplane. Tourists need to take the aeroplane to take them to Heraklion airport. After reaching the Heraklion, there are a few ways to get to Knossos.

Listed below are the ways to get to the Palace of Knossos.

  • Bus: take bus number 2, which last stop is Knossos; It runs from 8 am to 7 pm. It costs around €1.50, making it the cheapest transportation. The bus will take about 41 minutes to reach its last stop, Knossos.
  • Taxi: Taking a taxi is another option for tourists directly to the palace. The taxi fare will cost about €10—€12. It will typically take about 5 minutes for tourists to reach the destination.
  • Car: tourists may opt for renting a car to not only take them to the palace, but to different places in Crete as well. Renting a car will cost around €24 – €105 a day.
  • Foot: if tourists do not want to spend money on transportation, they can walk from Heraklion to Knossos, which will take about 55 minutes to reach the palace.

Can you rent a car going to the Palace of Knossos?

Yes, renting a car is another option for transportation to get to Knossos Palace. Just like what is mentioned above, renting a car is a great option for those who want to not only visit the palace but other sites on Crete as well. The site is accessible from Heraklion via public transportation like buses or private transportation like rental cars. Tourists can rent a car online once they reach Heraklion airport. The fee for renting a car will depend on how many people will use the car and how many bags they brought. Rental car agencies have different options. Tourists can choose from economy cars to SUVs.

What are the factors to consider before renting a car in Crete?

As mentioned above, renting a car is another mode of transportation that tourists can opt to get to the palace. It is a more private mode of transportation. Crete Car rental, most of the time, is a must when going around and travelling in Crete. Tourists need a car for them to be able to reach archaeological museums and other destinations they wish to visit. There are different car rental companies that tourists can opt to rent their car in Crete during their stay. This is a great option for those who want to have private transportation when going to their destination, especially during the pandemic.

Listed below are the things to consider before renting a car in Crete.

  • Insurance: Make sure that the car has insurance that will cover the damage that may be caused by any possible accidents.
  • Driver’s Age: The driver should be at least over 21 years old to rent a car in Crete. Also the drivers should hold a driver’s licence for at least 12 months.
  • Driver’s Gender: Some tourists can be picky when it comes to who will be their driver. The gender of the driver is one of the things that tourists consider, as many people believe that men are better drivers than women. For the car rental in Crete the gender doesn’t matter.
  • Car Type: There are different car types that are available to be rented. Each type caters to a different number of passengers and the amount of bags they can carry.
  • Documents: A valid driver’s licence and a debit or credit card are required to rent a car. A debit or credit card with the tourist’s name is needed to provide the rental car company guarantee (not obligatory in all companies).

How much does a car rental in Crete cost?

Car rental costs depend on the days that the car will be rented, the passengers, and the type of car that will be rented. A rental for a week may cost around €250. Day trips and night trips typically cost about €30 to €40. The rented cars can be used for a week with unlimited mileage and four-seaters. The rental cars are manual transmission, air-conditioned, and have four doors. All rented cars must be returned to the company with the same amount of fuel as at the start of the trip to avoid charges.

Is Knossos worth visiting?

Yes, the Palace of Knossos is worth visiting and, in fact, is the most visited site in Crete. It is considered to be a must-see tourist spot, especially for those people who are into Crete’s history. Tourists that have been there rated the site 4.0 out of 5 mainly because for them the site is worth the visit as it contains many artefacts that educate them about ancient history. Additionally, even the children who visited the place had so much fun with their visit. Furthermore, it is worth the visit as the place educates the tourists about history at a great price of around €15.