The Palace of Knossos – a flamboyant palace from ancient times







In Greek mythology, King Minos, the son of Zeus, commissioned the Palace of Knossos. The palace was designed with such complexity, it was said that anyone who entered could never find its exit on their own.

The historic roots of this palace go back some thousands of years and although it was mostly built by the Minoan civilization during the Bronze Age, various sections were built at different points in history including during the Neolithic and the Classical period.  It is in part the cross section of all the different styles of construction that give the palace its uniqueness.

According to one theory, around 1700 BC, a tremendous earthquake shook the Aegean Sea, devastating Crete as well as the Minoan cities on the Greek mainland. Although the palace was destroyed, it was rebuilt almost immediately on top of the ruins of the past.

The Palace of Knossos was the ceremonial and political center of the Minoan civilization and culture. It had as many as ten separate entrances, and was constructed as a maze of workrooms, living spaces, and storerooms that were built five storeys high. The construction provided insight to many aspects of Cretan life through the restorations of its indoor and outdoor murals, its decorative pottery and the insignia on palace seals.

The 1,300 rooms were connected with corridors of varying sizes and direction. The six acre premises included a theater, a main entrance on each of its four cardinal faces, and extensive storerooms (also called magazines). Within the storerooms were large clay containers (pithoi) that held oil, grains, dried fish, beans, and olives. Many items were processed at the palace, including grain mills, oil presses, and wine presses. Beneath the pithoi were stone holes that were used to store more valuable objects, such as gold.

With its many restorations of recent times the palace has been reconstituted in modern materials under the direction of Arthur Evans beginning in 1922. Today, these restorations render the complex strata of ruins a bit more comprehensible to the viewer, and bring out the majesty of Minoan life and the splendor of the architecture at the palace.

For those with an appreciation for ancient history, the palace of Knossos is well worth a visit.

Donna Salle is a freelance travel writer and can be reached through her website at or follow her on twitter @TravelsWithHeart.

Source = Donna Salle
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