Knossos, the famous Minoan Palace lies 5 kilometers southeast of Heraklion, in the valley of the river Kairatos. The river rises in Archanes runs through Knossos and reaches the sea at Katsabas, the Minoan harbor of Knossos. In Minoan times the river flowed all year round and the surrounding hills were covered in oak and cypress trees, where today we see vines and olives. The pine trees inside the archaeological site were planted by Evans. Constant habitation for 9,000 years has brought about great changes to the natural environment, so it is hard to imagine what the Minoan landscape was like.
Knossos, the 1st and 2nd Palace
The first settlement in the Knossos area was established circa 7000 BC, during the Neolithic Period. The economic, social and political development of the settlement led to the construction of the majestic Palace of Knossos towards the end of the second millennium BC. Knossos was the seat of the legendary King Minos and the main center of power in Crete. This first Palace was destroyed circa 1700 BC. It was rebuilt and destroyed again by fire, this time definitively, in 1350 BC. The environs of the Palace were transformed into a sacred grove of the goddess Rhea but never inhabited again.
The Palace of Knossos is the monumental symbol of Minoan civilization, due to its construction, use of luxury materials, architectural plan, advanced building techniques and impressive size.