The famous Minoan Palace of Knossos is located about 5-6 km south of the city of Heraklio. Knossos was the most impressive and luxurious building that someone could see all over Europe during Bronze Age (2800-1100 BC).
The excavations were conducted at first by Minos Kalokairinos and then by the Englishman Sir Arthur Evans. The Palace was built twice, every time even more beautiful. It covered an area of 22,000 sq.m. About 1400 rooms could be seen in the original palace and 300 people lived in them (the Royal family of Knossos and their servants). The king was called Minos, son of Zeus.
On the island of Crete there are 4 Minoan Palaces but the Palace of Knossos is the greatest of all. All palaces have common characteristics in their courtyards, temples and storerooms. In Knossos one can see 2 big paved courtyards, many storerooms, temples, private rooms and a theater. Some parts of the Palace were 4-5 floors high. Staircases with shallow alabaster steps led on the upper or underground floors.
The visitors can see openings (windows, doors, light-wells) all over the Palace. Minoans loved nature and lovely frescoes decorate the walls of the Palace. Their themes were taken from the everyday life or from nature itself.
It is said that no visitor could enter the Palace without someone to guide him around. The reason is that no one could find his way around the famous “labyrinth”.This name comes from the word “Lavrys” which means “double axe”. Axes were used a lot in everyday life and many of them were found in the palace or even inscribed on the walls of Knossos. So, Labyrinth means the “House of the double axes”, or the Palace itself.