Knossós was the oldest and most sophisticated city of the ancient western world. Knossos was the first inhabited area of ancient Crete, from as early as 7000 BC, and subsequently became the largest and most influential of Minoan centres.
The Knossiotes reached an incomprehensible level of
sophistication, coming to their zenith between the years 2400-1400 BC.
The city they created could be deemed modern by today's standards.
Day Tours to Knossos...
Reached by an impressive paved royal road, epic in proportion, the palace sits amid a lush and fertile basin, to this day lined with rows of olive trees and grapevines.
Minoan cities were unique, compared to neighbouring Mycenaean, Spartan and Athenian, in that they did not fortify their towns. This is a clear indication that they where not a warring people, and supported themselves with the trade of their unique agricultural goods and distinct and beautiful artistic crafts such as earthenware, jewellery, cosmetics and perfumes
At the centre of Knossos stand three and four storey buildings with throne rooms and spiritual chambers, central halls, bedrooms, bathrooms, intricate spiral stairways and light wells.
Also discovered were modern bathrooms with flushing toilets and sophisticated plumbing that fed in fresh spring water and plumbing for taking away waste water. There are tales that mention that the residents had central heating ducted through underground pipe systems utilising local thermal springs, although there seems to be some debate about this.
On the ground level and basements vast storage areas were excavated lined with large earthenware storage jars, ranging in size from rhytons to human size. The entire city was gracefully decorated, with frescoes and wall paintings of griffins, dolphins, bull-leaping figures, male processions with youths carrying ceremonial jars (rhytons) and beautiful women with sophisticated attire convening and enjoying a tête-à-tête.
The Prince of the Lilies
The tihografia wall painting of the Minoan prince known as the Prince of the Lilies or the Priest King dates to roughly 1500BC. This painting which was restored by Evans' team, shows the sleek and proud postured Cretan youth with his long curly hair, wearing a headress of lilies.
He is believed to be leading a bull by
its tether. It is controversial that in fact this painting may be a
fusion of a number or paintings from as many as four paintings from the
many stories that had tumbled on top of each other.
The ancient site of The Palace and City of Knossós is located in the central north of the island of Crete in Greece, 5 km from the capital Heraklion.
Below is a video of the Knossos Palace archaeological site as it stands today:
Below are some beautiful photos of the Knossós Palace archaeological site as it looks today:
Day tours to Knossós Palace with Viator...
with pick up and drop off from all major centres and hotels, with a
fully experience guide to see the palace ruins. Total tour time 5-6
Day tours to the site are easy to find; the quality differs from one company to the next. A local guide with good experience will be provided by Tourline, a Heraklion-based tour agency with over 25 years experience in sharing Crete's most interesting places.
The day tour provided by Tourline is a fascinating 7 hour journey with a combination of ancient history, wild geography and pure, untouched Crete. This is the Knossos to Lasithi Plateau tour - oulined below by Alex:
"This tour combines archaeology, mythology and nature. We visit the archaeological site of Knossós, the palace of the mighty King Minos and the Lasithi Plateau with its now famous one thousand windmills.
Five kilometres south of Heraklion stands the palace of Knossos where the Minoan civilization flourished more than 3500 years ago. Myths and legends come alive through the narration of our official guide.
Our program continues driving up to the Dikti Mountain and the fertile plateau of Lasithi. We stop at Tzermiado village for lunch break. Then crossing the small villages of plateau we have another short visit at the traditional pottery workshop. Then we will visit the Diktaion Cave, full of fantastic stalagmites and stalactites and famous as a birthplace of Greek God Zeus.
Taking our way back we have a short stop for photographs at Seli which is the highest point of our drive where we see the picturesque old Venetian windmills".
If you are interested in this tour please contact Alex and his staff at www.tourline.eu
Also see our tips for visitors to the site...