The Palace of Knossos is sited 5 km south-east of the city of Iraklion.
There is evidence that this location was inhabited during the neolithic times (6000 B.C.) . On the ruins of the neolithic settlement was built the first Minoan palace (1900 B.C.) where the dynasty of Minos ruled. This was destroyed in 1700 B.C and a new palace built in its place.
The palace covered an area of 22,000 sq.m, it was multi-storey and had an intricate plan. Due to this fact the Palace is connected with thrilling legends, such as the myth of the Labyrinth with the Minotaur.
Between 1.700-1.450 BC, the Minoan civilisation was at its peak and Knossos was the most important city-state. During these years the city was destroyed twice by earthquakes 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 Minos Kalokairinos. The excavations in Knossos began in 1.900 A.D. by the English archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans (1851- 1941) and his team, and they continued for 35 years.