The archaeological site of Knossos is one of the most important
archaeological sites in Greece and lies about 5km from Heraklion.
Knossos was the centre of the Minoan civilization and many of
the artefacts recovered during excavation can be seen in the
Archaeological Museum in Heraklion.
Evidence shows that this area was inhabited in Neolithic times (6000BC) and it was on the ruins of the Neolithic settlement that the first Minoan palace was constructed in around 1900 BC. This first palace was destroyed 200 years later and a new palace was built to replace it which covered around 22,000 square metres. The palace was several storeys high and very intricate in its design, a labyrinth of corridors, store rooms, sanctuaries, ceremonial rooms, the majestic throne room, the royal quarters, the room of the giant pithos and the theatre. Due to its intricate plan, it is connected with the myth of the Labyrinth with the Minotaur.
The archaeological site itself comprises the several remains of buildings. As well as the Great Palace, the largest building, there are also the well preserved remains of the Little Palace, the House of the Priest, the Caravanserai (which was the public baths) the Royal Tomb, and the House of Dionysos with its superb mosaic floors.