Mythology and the Palace of Knossos

Minos, son of Zeus, king of Olympus, was king of Knossos and lived in a huge palace. He was a good man and ruler. Unfortunately, life caused him a lot of suffering. Pasifae's wife cheated on him with a bull. We find it disgusting. But licentiousness was then universal.  The marriage was concluded between members of the immediate family, sex with animals was also allowed. In any case, the fruit of the betrayal was half human and half bull. King Minos in anger called the strange creature Minotaur and placed it in a labyrinth designed and built by a famous and respected architect named Daedalus. The betrayal of his wife is not the end of the king's failures. The Athens bull taming competition was very popular. During one of the fights, the son of Minos was killed. The bull literally tore the prince to shreds. In a frenzy of despair and great anger, the ruler ordered seven girls and seven boys to be sent into the labyrinth every nine years to devour Minos.

One of the ships came from the nearby Sounion, the brave Theseus, son of King Egeus. In fact, he managed to defeat the Minotaur, and thanks to Ariadne's thread, he did not get lost in the maze. The king once again felt cheated and betrayed by fate. As a revenge, he ordered Daedalus to be thrown into the maze along with his son Icarus.

As you can see, the air in Knossos is full of mythology. The history is known to the school. So you can't come to Crete and not visit the Knossos Palace. Even if there are crowds of tourists in high season and the high temperature and scorching sun are very tiring, it is a must see.

The importance of the Palace of Knossos

One thing is for sure, the Palace of Knossos is the most magnificent palace from the period 2000-1400 BC, i.e. the Minoan period. Over a thousand rooms were created on an area of 20,000 m². The area was inhabited by over 10,000 people. Excavations have shown that the palace was rebuilt and enlarged many times. It is surprising that the building forms a functional whole after some 600 years of splendor. No remains of the defensive walls were found. The palace complex was multi-level, which proves highly developed construction knowledge. The lower rooms are mainly small rooms for warehouses, utility and production rooms. There was probably a legendary maze here too. The next storeys were separated by flat ceilings, supported on walls and columns. In the central part there was a spacious courtyard around which there were representative and cult halls as well as the throne room. The floors are tiled with stone and the walls are painted with cheerful frescoes. The lighting came from the floodlights. Numerous monuments have been discovered here; figurines, dishes, gypsies and plaques with linear letters A and B. Around the palace there were villas with gardens for wealthy residents, and compact houses for poorer residents. At a short distance, tombs from the period 1750 ÷ 1450 BC were discovered.

The complex is explored by walking on wooden footbridges. This proves that not everything is available and that open-cast works are still being carried out here. While walking around the excavations, it is worth taking a look at the numerous information boards. The colors we encounter during the visit are the reconstruction seen through Evans' eyes. Many criticize this solution, although most admit that the colors given bring us closer to the idea of the era.

History of the Palace of Knossos

As a result of extensive excavation work, it was found that the first settlements date back to 6500 BC, although the discovered ruins were established around 2000 BC. It also turned out that around 1700 B.C.E. there was a strong earthquake in Crete, which killed a large part of the population and most buildings were destroyed. For about 100 years, people were afraid to live here. It was not until around 1600 B.C. it was decided to rebuild the palace. The new buildings were much more magnificent, multi-level and richly decorated. There has been tremendous progress in architectural awareness.

1.400 B.C.E. it is time for further changes. The island was taken over by the Mycenaeans who adapted the palace in Knossos to their needs. However, they did not rule very long as already in 1.375 BC. another great catastrophe ensued.

It is not known exactly what it was, maybe it was an earthquake, maybe a fire. However, a large part of the palace was destroyed.

In addition, 1200 B.C.E. is another unforgettable date.

The invaders completely destroyed the kingdom, practically razing it to the ground.

Due to its turbulent history, the place has never regained its thousand-year-old splendor.

Currently, research in this area is carried out by the British School of Archeology.

The Palace of Knossos is a must see for every tourist

About 6 km southeast of the island's capital Heraklion (Heraklion) is a small town with a population of around 300. It would be a quiet village if it were not for the fragments of the palace ruins discovered by archaeologists and antiquarian Minos Kalokairinos in 1978. It was already known then that it was an amazing place. A few years later (in 1899) Sir Arthur Evans (director of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford) undertook further excavation work. He also quickly bought the area of the hill, because he realized that the discoveries so far are only a drop in the ocean of what still needs to be discovered. He was not wrong. A large area of the palace was quickly exposed from the Minoan culture, i.e. from the period 2000 ÷ 1400 BC.



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