The archaeological site of Knossos is situated 80 kilometres far from Agia Galini. The site is very easily accessible by all means: public buses run very frequently, taxis and tourist buses are available and you may always use rented or private cars and motorbikes
Knossos is considered, and not without reason, as the core of the Minoan Civilisation. According to the myth, it used to be the seat of King Minos. Several fascinating and important myths refer to Knossos, as that of Labyrinthos and the Minotaur and the myth of Daedalos and Icaros.
The site was continuously inhabited from the Neolithic period (7000-3000 b.C.) up to the Roman era. It is one of the cities mentioned in the texts of the Linear B script, used by the Mycenaeans and deciphered in 1952 by the British architect Michael Ventris.
Urban development was intense during the Minoan period, as it is evidenced by the Palaces ( first and second ones, dated in the 19th -17th and 16th -14th centuries respectively), the luxurius houses, the famous hospice and the important infrastructure works.
In 1450 b.C., after a partial destruction, possibly due to external invasion, the Mycenaeans were settled at the place, assimilate the Minoan civilisation and push it forward up to 1100 b.C. when a new collapse gives an end to this continuity. The city flourishes again during the Hellenistic period, as it is shown by the sanctuaries ( those of Glaukos and Demeter being the most important), by several chamber tombs and the northern cemetery and by the defensive towers.
In 67 b.C. Romans invaded Knossos, along with the whole island. It is from that period that comes the wonderful Villa of Dionyssos with the fascinating mosaics.
The ruins of Knossos were spotted in 1878 by the amateur greek arcaeologist Minos Kalokairinos. After him, many scholars of the time as Heinrich Schlieman and Arthour Evans tried to start excavations on the site, but were stopped by the exorbitate sum demanded by the owner of the field. After 1898, when Crete was declared autonomous, Arthour Evans was allowed to start excavations, which he conducted systematically from 1900 up to 1931, except for the period 1912-1922. The excavations of Evans brought to light the Palace, a good part of the city and a large cemetery. The excavations are still being carried out in a broader area under the supervision of the British Archaeological School in Athens and the 23rd Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities.
The restoration of the Palace in its present form is the result of the work of Evans. In fact, Evans made broad interventions, which he justified by the need to preserve the monument. Today, the Greek Archaeological Service undertakes works of consolidation of the monuments only when that is absolutely necessary
The archaeological site of Cnossos is vast and all the monuments (as the site itself) are worth seeing; but there are some that the visitor should never miss; moreover, they deserve a second and a third and a fourth visit...
The huge "Palace of Knossos" is the biggest (it is extended in more than 20.000 square meters) and the most splendid of all Minoan palatial centres known up to now. It follows the typical architectural style known from almost all the palaces built around1700 b.C. The Palace was multi-storeyed, built with big carved stones, while the walls sere decorated with the famous wonderful wall paintings.
Four wings, with North - South orientation, are arranged around a rectangular central courtyard. At the eastern wing there are found the royal quarters, various workshops and a sanctuary. The western