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Knossos - The Minoan civilization

Knossos is the home of the oldest civilization in Europe, starting in 2600 B.C to 1100 B.C the Minoan civilization flourished, so named after the king Minos rumored to rule over the island of Crete.
This is the legendary home of the Minotaur of the labyrinth, told by the old Greek mythology. 
The real treasure of Knossos is the remains of an civilization that running water and mechanical ventilation more than 2000 years before even the Roman civilization. 
Here are some pictures from Knossos. The largest of the palaces found from the era.


There were several palaces from the period. It is not clear the social structure of the civilization, but as there were more than one palace and reliefs and mosaics depict probably a working and a non working people, presumably there was a kind of feudal society. The palace of Knossos covered more than 20.000 square meters!

The ruins was discovered by Minos Kalokairinos in 1878. Arthur Evan's reconstructed partially the ruins of the palace between 1901 to 1931, which is the reason for some cemented parts in the ruins of today.
This is an artists interpretation of the palace. The palace has more than 1500 rooms.

There are proof of aqueducts and even a ventilation systems in the palace, with running water in the toilets. Remember that there are several thousand years until the Romans and Greek attain this level sophistication, the western world a couple of thousand more. Below you can see the now underground parts of the palace.


Below is a picture of clay water pipe system distributing water. 

These are the ruins of the palace to the south west. There are still more buildings for priests and others belonging to or serving the inhabitants of the palace.

This is another view to the south east. The ridge behind was the source for one of the aqueducts, leading water into the palace.

This was an early amphitheater probably used for theater and public information. The raised part to the far right is believed to be the throne for the king.

This is another view of the central part of Knossos. The size of the palace is staggering. There are many interesting aspects of the excavations, but the rumored labyrinth of the Minotaur, the cruel beast of the Greek myths haven't been located. Probably the impression of an labyrinth comes from all the 1500 rooms. Imagine finding your way to the kitchen in the dark...

Below you can see some of the advantages of living in a civilization; the possibility of food supplies even when the supplies is not in season. Large storage yars for food. The inhabitants of the Minoan civilization had a system of personal identification badges kept around their wrist. To sign for a shipment or as token of payment, the badge was pressed on soft tablets.

If you visit Crete and have some interest in history and the development of civilization, a visit to Knossos is a must. This is the early beginning of an civilization that predates anything else in Europe.
I don't think you'll regret the visit. 


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İHenrik W. Robeck 2006-2007