Global Treasures KNOSSOS Crete, Greece
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Around 7 kilometres southeast of Heraklion on the Greek island of Crete, is the Palace of Knossos, the largest of all the Minoan palaces, located on the picturesque, partly tree-covered Kephala Hill.
As parts of the palace have been rebuilt, its former splendor makes a visit to Knossos even more worthwhile. At the beginning of the 20th century, large scale excavations of the former Minoan palace were carried out under the leadership of Englishman, Arthur Evans. In just three years, Evans and his team of archaeologists excavated an area of almost 20,000 square metres.
Visitors can move around the newly built areas of the palace and imagine the former life of the Minoans. Almost all of the palace’s 1,200 rooms and splendid inner courtyards are asymmetrical, which is in contrast to the subsequent Ancient Greek epochs of strict symmetrical architecture. As with other Minoan palaces in Phaistos and Malia, around 1700 B.C., the first palace in Knossos was destroyed by a devastating earthquake. Around 100 years later, the palace was rebuilt and was simply known as the ‘New Palace’. These buildings have also been referred to as the ‘Labyrinth of the Minotaurs’.
But if the legendary Minotaurs actually resided in the Palace of Knossos, it has yet to be confirmed by the world of archaeology!
Global Treasures - History''s Most Protected Monuments - Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa''s Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world''s heritage. Join us as we explore one of these protected monuments.