Tag Archive : Crete

Knossos the capital of Minoan Crete

Knossos is the site of one of the most important and better known palaces of Minoan civilisation.

It was inhabited for several thousand years, beginning with a neolithic settlement sometime in the seventh millennium BC, and was abandoned after its destruction in 1375 BC which marked the end of Minoan civilization.

It was damaged several times during earthquakes, invasions, and in 1450 BC by the colossal volcanic eruption of Thera, and the invasion of Mycenaeans who used it as their capital, while they were ruling the island of Crete until 1375 BC. Knossos was ruled by the dynasty of King Minos and is connected with thrilling legends, such as the myth of the Labyrinth with the Minotaur.

Alive witnesses of the Minoan civilization, one of the oldest in Europe, are the remains of the palace complexes, Zakros, Festos, Malia, built in the whole extent of the island, with the central one, the palace of Knossos at Heraklion.

According to tradition, it was the seat of the legendary king Minos and it is also connected with thrilling legends, such as the myth of the Labyrinth with the Minotaur, and the story of Daidalos and Icaros.

Beyond the palace complexes, rich settlements were excavated, such as Eleftherna and Gortyna, and thousands archaeological finds came to light to reveal the colossal level of Minoan art. Impressive frescoes, miniature crafts from jewelries to everyday items are the main exhibits in the museums of the island.

The story continues and is depicted on the “body” of Crete with defensive monuments such as Fortezza fortress in Rethymnon, the medieval castle of Itzhedin and the Venetian walls in Chania, as well as countless monuments almost untouched by the passage of time lying all over the island, alive remnants of the past.

One of the most interesting destinations in Greece is ready to reveal its secrets and beauties!

Map Greek Island of Crete
Map Greek Island of Crete

Map Greek Island of Crete

Greece’s largest island has the dubious distinction of playing host to a quarter of all visitors to Greece.

It’s still possible to find some peace by visiting the undeveloped west coast, the rugged mountainous interior and the villages of the Lassithi plateau.

Crete was the centre of the Minoan culture, Europe’s first advanced civilisation, which flourished from 2800 to 1450 BC.

The palace of Knossos, just outside Crete’s largest city, Heraklio, is the most magnificent of Crete’s Minoan sites.

While Heraklio is a modern, wealthy but somewhat charmless city, the other large towns, Chania and Rethymno, are packed with beautiful Venetian buildings.

Paleohora, on the southwest coast, was discovered by hippies in the 1960s and from then on its days as a quiet fishing village were numbered, but it remains a relaxing place favoured by backpackers.

Many travelers spend a day trekking though the 18km-long Samaria Gorge to get to Agia Roumeli on the southwest coast.

Further along the south coast, which is too precipitous to support large settlements, are the villages of Loutro and Hora Sfakion, linked by boat. The climate on the south coast is so mild that swimming is possible from April to November.