Knossos Ruins

            When British Archaeologist Arthur Evans undertook a major excavation outside of Heraklion in the year 1900, he uncovered an extensive complex of multiple buildings, some dating back as far as the 14th century BCE. Knossos is now known to be the cultural center of the ancient Minoan civilization, the oldest in Europe.

            The major feature of the Knossos site is the Great Palace, a structure covering over five acres and consisting of over 1,000 rooms connected by corridors and hallways. The palace was constructed sometime between 1700 and 1300 BCE. It is believed to be the source of the Ancient Greek mythology concerning King Minos of Crete, which also concerns the myths of Icarus and Dedalus, the labyrinth, the Minotaur and Theseus.

            Other major features of the site include a smaller palace, a royal villa, a tomb, numerous frescoes and various other houses and buildings. Knossos is located about twenty minutes south of Heraklion, and easily accessible via bus from the center of town. Or you can drive to the site and park in a parking lot near the entrance. Tickets are six euros, with discounts available for students and senior citizens. Guided tours are available, or you can explore the ruins on your own.