Knossos Palace in Crete - description for tourists

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The island of Crete №1 is the palace of Knossos. One of four existed once the palaces of the Minoan civilization and the main one.

Of course, it is not similar to what Russians are accustomed to calling a palace, and the name misleads many. This is the place of archaeological excavations of the palace complex of ancient Greek civilization from 2000 - 1400 BC. Some of the buildings that you will see are almost 4000 years old, and, of course, their safety is far from excavating the city ​​of Pompeii in Italy, but "make a discount" at the venerable age of the Cretan palace.

A bit of history

The ancient history of Greece is divided into three epochs: Minoan, Mycenaean and classical. In the most ancient - Minoan era, Crete was the center of Greek civilization.

Creches built palaces, which were huge (by the standards of 2000 BC) complexes of buildings for various purposes. Knossos Palace was built in 2000 BC and around 1700 was destroyed by an earthquake. But this catastrophe did not damage the civilization, and the palace was rebuilt.

Around 1400 BC there was a much more terrible catastrophe - a volcanic eruption and a giant tsunami, which put an end to the history of the Minoan civilization. The island was quickly conquered by the new Achaean Greeks. The Mycenaean epoch began.

More details on the appointment of the Minoan palaces, the way of life in them and about the ancient culture can be found in our separate article "The Minoan palaces in Crete ", there we described all this in detail. We recommend reading this article, with this knowledge your visit to Knossos will be much more interesting.

How to get to Knossos Palace in Crete

The simplest option - as part of the excursion group. An excursion to Knossos is the most popular in Crete. It brings tourists from any resort of the island. Visiting Knossos is often combined with sightseeing, and you can always choose the most convenient combination. We recommend the option "Knossos and the Cave of Zeus ", as it will, in our opinion, provide the most complete immersion in the atmosphere of antiquity.

If you came by car, then finding Knossos is not difficult. The road leads directly from the port of the city of Heraklion to the south. On the maps, it is designated at number 99. Go along this road and you do not miss Knossos, follow the signs.

Since Knossos is the most popular tourist destination in Crete, there are public transport buses. In Heraklion, there are two major bus stations, they are called A and B. The bus to Knossos departs every 20 minutes from Station A. There are regular bus services from other cities of Crete, which is convenient for tourists.

Perhaps Knossos is the only attraction of Crete, which can be easily reached by public transport. You can easily find the bus to Knossos by the inscription "Knossos" on the sign on the windshield. The fare is 1.3 euros per person (note: state for 2014, by the time of your visit to Greece prices may change)

Entry price and time of work

The admission ticket costs 6 euros. If you decide to get acquainted with archeology in Crete "in full", you can buy a ticket for 10 euros, which you can visit Knossos and the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion.

The excavations of the Knossos Palace can be reached every day from 8:00 am to 7:30 pm in the evening, but this time is only valid during the tourist season, which starts in April, and ends in September. During the remaining months, opening hours are from 8:30 to 15:00.

It is important to know before you look at the palace of Knossos

Not everything that you see inside, has an age of 3,5-4 thousand years. Some of the buildings are completely new.

The excavation began in 1900, the Englishman Arthur Evans. At the beginning of the 20th century, archeology was not yet formed, and everyone was doing it the way they thought right. Remember at least Henry Schliemann - the famous "digger" (it is difficult to call him an archaeologist, as he destroyed more important artifacts than he dug out).

Arthur Evans believed that the ancient monuments should not only be excavated, but also restored, which he did immediately. Part of the palace was built by him. He did not have exact information about how the palace looked 3 500 years ago and he was guided more by his imagination.

What to look inside - Entrance and "west yard"

It was the central entrance to the palace. Now tourists also go inside through it.

Here you can see two noteworthy objects. The first is three large stone wells. See do not fall into them by accident. Wells are fenced with handrails, but they are not very high.

Their appointment still causes controversy among historians. The main version says that these wells were intended for grain storage. Recall that in Crete at that time not wheat was grown, but barley.

According to the second version, the remains of sacrifices were dropped into the wells. It seems less plausible, since wells are large enough in size. It is doubtful that the sacrifices of the Minoan Greeks could have been so large that they could fill these wells with remnants. Near the wells were found the remains of the altar, which can be a confirmation of this conjecture.

The western courtyard of the palace was the venue for the ceremonies. However, almost at any place in the palace, any ceremony was held. The Minoan Greeks had many rituals, as evidenced by the frescoes.

The second thing that tourists immediately see after entering is a large triangular area. Her appointment was not exactly established, it was probably a ceremonial square in Knossos.

Corridor of processions

Its purpose is not exactly established. Once there was a huge fresco depicting young men and girls bearing gifts to the gods. From the fresco itself, almost nothing has been preserved.

Central courtyard

The site is 50 by 25 meters in size, paved with stone slabs. It was here that all the main events and the main religious rituals took place.

Many historians believe that it was here that battles were fought with bulls. This ritual is depicted in murals, but its purpose is not exactly established.

It is from the central courtyard that you can get to the throne room and the main cult room.

Throne room

Quite a small room, which served as a place for reception of important guests and meetings of the Tsar with his associates. In the middle of the room is a throne made of gypsum. Attention! This is the most ancient throne in all of Europe.

Hall of frescoes

Perhaps the most interesting place in the palace of Knossos. This room is located above the throne room. Its walls were decorated with frescoes. Rather, they are now decorated, but not by originals, but by copies. All the originals were taken to the archaeological museum of Heraklion.

In the photo to the left is a fresco that is known all over the world. It is called "playing with the bulls" and depicts an important ritual. In the religion of the Minoan Greeks an important role was played by the god-bull, which symbolized the destructive beginning in nature. Probably, the ritual was dedicated to this deity.

A few more murals are also famous. They are: "women in blue", "saffron collector", "blue monkey" and "blue bird".

Many readers have a question about why there are so many blue colors in Minoan frescoes? This is not due to the love of the ancient Greeks for this color, but simply the choice of dyes in ancient times was small.

Vases of the pithos

These are ceramic amphorae of gigantic size, growing from a person or higher. They were used to store grain, oil and wine. They are often found on the territory of the palace, and every tourist does not miss the opportunity to take pictures with them. Recommended - this is the best memory of visiting the palace of Knossos.

Queen and Queen's Rest

This is the most popular place for tourists. In this part of the palace were the queen's quarters. One of the rooms contains a real bathing bath.

The palace complex is huge, and it is not possible to tell about everything on this page. To do this, you need to create a whole section of the site. We have identified only the most interesting places, which should be looked at first.

Successful visit to the palace of Knossos and read our articles about Greece ( links below ).

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Read about Greece on our website


How long to fly to Greece

Money in Greece

What to bring to Greece

How much money to take to Greece

What to bring from Greece

Alcohol in Greece. Drinks and prices

Taxi in Greece


All about the Minoan palaces in Crete


Sweets in Greece


Mount Filerimos

Acropolis in the city of Lindos

Rodini Park in the city of Rhodes

The Rhodes Fortress

Valley of the Butterflies


Knossos Palace

Elafonisi Island

Island of Spinalonga

Monastery of Kera Cardiotissa

The Cave of Zeus

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