Knossos Palace and Archaeological Museum

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The Minoan palace of Knossos is the most visited archaeological site of Crete.

The Minoan palace of Knossos is the most visited archaeological site of Crete. The Knossos palace is located 5 kilometers southeast of the town of Heraklion and is built on the hill of Kefala with easy access to the sea as well as the main town of the capital. The choice of this location was made based on the strategic position and its natural advantages. According to tradition, the palace was the home of king Minoas and was the center of the Minoan civilization.

The Minoan palace was destroyed twice, once in 1250 BC by an earthquake, which was probably caused by the eruption of the volcano of Thira (Santorini) and resulted in its partial destruction, that was later restored and used by the Acheaens (Mycenaeans) around 1450-1400 BC who settled at Knossos. In 1350 BC the palace was completely destroyed by a major conflagration that started in the warehouses. The palace was never restored and inhabited.

The first excavations of the site was began in 1878 by the merchant Mino Kalokairinos from Heraklion, who was an antiquities enthusiast and then the west wing of Knossos was excavated and several important utensils and items of the time were found. This was followed by the long-term excavations of the English archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans, director of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. In 1900, Evans with his assistants resumed the excavations that lasted 30 years and uncovered the entire palace, that was fully restored. For its restoration, Evans used cement in a lot of places and even though he was criticized about it, it was later proved that it was necessary for the structural stability of the buildings in the long run. However, the archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans was very impressed by the variety of the building materials used and the wall-paintings adorning the rooms and passages. The level of technology attained by the Minoans is also demonstrated by some original architectural and structural features, such as the light-wells and polythyra, the use of beams to reinforce the masonry, and the complex drainage and water-supply systems. Also, the palace of Knossos is connected with thrilling legends, such as the myth of the Labyrinth with the Minotaur, and the story of Dedalus and Ikaros, that are worth reading in order to understand the depth and the beauty of Greek mythology.

Cretan Bay Transfer suggests you to combine this excursion with your visit to the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, which presents the entire Minoan culture. It is one of the most remarkable museums in Greece and one of the most important in Europe.  The exhibits of the archaeological museum include representative samples from all periods of Cretan history, prehistory and cover 5500 years from the Neolithic era to Roman times.Next, you can walk around in the shopping streets of the center of Heraklion and buy souvenirs. We recommend that you visit the Lions’ square (fountain) and enjoy a Greek coffee with a sweet bougatsa or a delicious galaktoboureko. 

Notes:

  • The preset stops can be changed according to your preferences, you can consult your driver.
  • Prices don’t include the entrance  fees for the archaeological sites / museums , escorts/meals and ferry tickets.

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