Day Trip #6 (by car)
From Agioklima Traditional House, Petrokefalo, is easy to go to Knossos. And visiting Crete without seeing Knossos would be a terrible miss out! The archaeological site of Knossos is 5 klms southeast of the city. This location was inhabited during the Neolithic times (6000 B.C.) and on the ruins of the Neolithic settlement was built the first Minoan palace (1900 B.C.), where the dynasty of Minus ruled. This was destroyed in 1700 B.C and a new palace was built in its place. The palace covered an area of 22,000sq.meters, it was multi- storied and had an intricate plan. That’s the reason why it’s connected with myths like the Labyrinth and the Minotaur. Between 1.700-1.450 BC, the Minoan civilization was at its peak and Knossos was the most important city-state. During these years the city was destroyed twice by earthquakes (1.600 BC, 1.450 BC) and rebuilt.
The city of Knossos had 100.000 citizens and it continued to be an important city-state until the early Byzantine period. The site was discovered in 1878 by Minus Kalokairinos. The excavations in Knossos began in 1900 by Sir Arthur Evans, and lasted 35 years. The most important monuments of Knossos: The Great Palace, the largest of the preserved Minoan palatial centers. Four wings are arranged around a central courtyard, containing the royal quarters, workshops, shrines, storerooms and the throne room. Dated to 2000-1350 B.C. The Little Palace is located west of the Great Palace and is the second bigger building of Knossos. In one of its chambers was found the wonderful Bull’s Head. The House of the High Priest is named like this due to the stone altar that was found there. The altar is surrounded with double axes stands. The Caravan Serai is located opposite to the Great Palace and it was the official entrance to the palace. It served as public baths with running water, where the traveler of Knossos should bath before visiting the King.
Many of the artifacts of Knossos are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, so after visiting the archeological site, it is a great idea to also see the museum. It is in the center of the city. But leave early in the morning from Agioklima Traditional House, because the sun, especially during summer time, is really hot and the temperature high!