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Knossos in Kreta macht auch den kleinen Urlaubern viel Freude, Bild: Timofeev Vladimir / shutterstock

Knossos – The ancient place in Crete

It takes quite a bit of imagination if you want to imagine the numerous pieces of wall, remains of columns and piles of stones on Crete as an original site of antiquity. In any case, a travel guide is helpful to find your way around the small and large archaeological excavation sites. In addition, there should be an interest in the old cultures, life traditions and history. This also includes the tourist attraction Knossos.

For the majority of holidaymakers in Crete, a visit to Knossos is a must. Everyone knows Knossos somehow, even if it’s only from hearsay. Even in the smallest village of Crete there are postcards and posters to buy. There is a flood of books and pictures from the historic Minoan palace. This is located about 8 kilometers south of Heraklion, the capital of the island of Crete. There, the streets around the excavation site are lined with countless souvenir shops. There are even replicas of famous finds for sale. This makes a visit to the Heraklion Archaeological Museum and the palace in Knossos all the more interesting.

Minos Palace of Knossos and its history

Minos Palace, Knossos
The throne room in the Minoan Palace, Image: Heracles Kritikos / shutterstock

The Minoan palace and complex existed some time before the known ancient era. The palace complex is one of the most important prehistoric monuments. Knossos was probably already settled in the period between 7,000 and 3,000 BC. The original palace complex was possibly destroyed by an earthquake around 1,700 BC. A second palace, called the Theatre of Knossos, was built on its ruins. In the Mycenaean script of the 14th century BC, the place is described as “Konoso”.

The palace complex suffered its final destruction around 1350 BC due to a devastating fire. The Palace of Knossos is shrouded in many legends, such as the Labyrinth of the Minotaur and the story of Icaros and Daidalos.

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Historical sensation

Moino Palace Knossos
Image: Kiev.Victor / shutterstock

The Minoan palace in Knossos is probably the most visited attraction on the island of Crete and is located about 5 kilometers south of Heraklion near the Keratos River. According to legend, King Minos’ labyrinth was located in Knossos, in which he held the Minotaur, a hybrid creature of bull and man, in captivity.

100 years ago, no one thought that long before the Greek era of Europe began, there was already a highly developed culture. The excavation of the palace was a sensation that shed new light on the history of Crete. The remains of the important palace stand on a very large area of 75 hectares. Only part of it can be entered by the public. The palace of Knossos had at least 1200 rooms, which were located on 5 levels. It is believed that in the heyday of the Minoans, more than 100,000 people resided in the palace and in the surrounding area. The large number of rooms was probably used for economic and esoteric occasions.

Palace tour

Knossos
The food was stored in these containers, Image: Banet / shutterstock

Visiting the Minos Palace of Knossos is quite confusing and tedious, especially if you don’t have a good guide with you.

The palace can be freely viewed by visitors. There is also the option of taking part in a variety of guided tours in German and English. It is enough to give the staff a good tip (10 euros) and join a group.

The necessary restorations will still take a lot of time. For this reason, some parts of the palace area are inaccessible. However, the publicly accessible area is still very large.

On a tour of the palace complex, you will first reach the west courtyard with round shafts that may have served as sacrificial sites.

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On the right side there are frescoes depicting life-size sacrificial bearers. When you are inside the palace walls, you can see on the left the southern Propylaea with its columns in white. In the courtyard is the throne room in the northwest corner. It has frescoes depicting griffins.

The central courtyard is the heart of the Palace of Knossos. In the east wing are the royal private apartments. The courtyard with its stone water pipes, in which rainwater was collected, collected and drained into the earth via pipes.

Tips for getting there and visiting

The Palace of Knossos is easy to find, because the signage of the route is very good. There are plenty of free but also paid parking spaces on the premises and a few meters away there are also restaurants and taverns.

Admission: 15 euros (in combination with the Museum Heraklion 16 euros), reduced 8 euros Opening hours: In the summer months from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

A taxi or bus line 2 takes travelers to the palace. Different travel times must be observed, which depend on the season. You can find out about these on site. In summer, Crete is of course full of tourists, so the morning is worth a visit to Knossos. It also avoids the blazing midday heat.

The Minoan palace is a highlight of Crete, especially for those interested in the history of the island. The tour lasts about 3 hours. In addition to the palace, it is also worth visiting the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. More information about the Minoans can be found http://www.minoer.net/befunde/architektur/palaste/knossos.

Places of interest outside the Minoan palace

The street in front of the palace entrance is home to some large and small souvenir shops and plenty of gastronomy. The restaurants are often equipped with free Wi-Fi.

So don’t miss out on visiting Knossos if you are spending your holidays in Crete.