Knossos

Knossos is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete, probably the ceremonial and political center of the Minoan civilization and culture. It is also tourist destination today. It is nearest to Iraklion. The ruins at Knossos were discovered in 1878 by Minos Kalokairinos, a Cretan merchant and antiquarian.

==== KNOSSOS – PALACE FEATURES

The palace is about 130 meters on a side and since the Roman period has been suggested as the source of the myth of the Labyrinth, an elaborate mazelike structure. The great palace was built gradually between 1700 and 1400 BC, with periodic rebuildings after destruction. Structures preceded it on Kephala hill. The features currently most visible date mainly to the last period of habitation, which Evans termed Late Minoan. The palace has an interesting layout – the original plan can no longer be seen because of the subsequent modifications. Due to its placement on the hill, the palace received sea breezes during the summer. It had porticoes and airshafts.

The palace was designed to take best advantage of natural lighting during the long days of the summer season. The suites of rooms were arranged around courtyards to provide more window openings, the doors were polythyra i.e multiple door to provide more door opening area, stairs. Winter must have presented the Palace of Minos with as much of a heating problem as its architecture solved the lighting problem. The wind would have swept through the open palace, increasing the chill factor, unless the openings were blocked. The door openings must have been provided with doors of wood or bronze, as in later Classical times.

The palace also includes the Minoan Column, a structure notably different from other Greek columns. Unlike the stone columns characteristic of other Greek architecture, the Minoan column was constructed from the trunk of a cypress tree, common to the Mediterranean.

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