What: Knossos is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and is the political centre of the Minoan civilization.
Built: 1700 B.C. – 1400 B.C.
The Palace of Knossos was the centre of the Minoan Civilization that flourished on the island of Crete from the 18th-15th centuries B.C.. It was a vast palace that was used as a religious and administrative centre. It was also believed to be the home of the Minotaur, a creature that was half-man and half-bull, that dwelt in the labyrinth of Knossos. The Palace was believed to have been destroyed by an earthquake in 1450 B.C. and was destroyed again in 1400 B.C. by Greek invaders from the mainland Greece. Eventually it faded into poverty and obscurity.
The Palace of Knossos was very advanced for its’ time. There was an installed liquid management system, one used to drain the Palace of waste and water and another for the supply of fresh water. An aqueduct was used to supply the fresh water from the springs at Archanes, a nearby hill. There was even a runoff water system used to drain the Palace of any rain water. Frescoes were a popular sight in the Palace, which has helpled archeologists gain insight into the lives of the Minoan people. Paintings from Knossos depict people fishing and flower gathering, a bull-leaping scene and pictures of what the Minoans may have looked like. Women are portrayed with pale white skin, while the men with a reddish colour. There was also a throne room in the Palace that was used as the council hall and law-court for King Minos. The throne is flanked by two Griffins, mythical creatures with the head of an eagle and body of a lion, which symbolised royal and divine power. There are benches on each side of the throne as well as a porphyrite basin in the middle.
The Palace was re-discovered in 1878 by Minos Kalokairinos, a wealthy Cretan art lover, while Crete was still under Turkish occupation. In 1900 Sir Arthur Evans, a rich Englishman, purchased the site and extensively excavated it in the early 1900′s. He reconstructed the palace with concrete and re-painted the columns and frescoes. This was seen at the time as a controversial project because of theirreversible damage he had caused to the original work.
“Seven Wonders of Ancient Greece – Knossos” by the Discovery Channel: