Knossos is the ultimate culture buff’s destination. The greatest centre of the Minoan culture lies just a short drive from the city of Heraklion. It is a magnificent landmark of unique natural and cultural beauty. I had the pleasure to visit Knossos last summer and I was altogether charmed. I was in Crete with my family and we all know that surviving family vacations can at times prove challenging. Time was my enemy; my dad, who had followed us unwillingly to the archaeological site, was grumpy and looked forward to leaving as soon as possible, my brother was also in a hurry as he was eager to go to the beach, while my mom and I were dazed by the scenery and the artifacts of the Minoan civilization. For the two of us time had stopped…
We also had the chance to visit the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, which is a very interesting museum.I recommend that you visit it too if you want to put everything you see into a context and understand better the unique history of the island. Should you decide to take the long way to beautiful Crete and discover Knossos, the following info and tips might come in handy.
Early excavations at the site date back to 1878 and were carried out by the team of Minos Kalokairinos. Yet, it wasn’t until 1931 that the first significant findings were unearthed by Sir Arthur Evans, who had the great fortune to bring to light the entire palace of King Minos, the royal residence and also capital of his state. King Minos is the one to whom we owe the name of the Minoan civilisation, a culture that thrived in the island between 2000 and 1350 BC.
The monuments of the archaeological site of Knossos are:
-The Palace of Knossos
-The Guest House
-The Royal Temple – Tomb
-The South Mansion
-The “Unexplored Mansion”
-The Little Palace
-The Royal Villa
The House of the Frescoes
The most stunning structure is beyond any doubt the Palace of Knossos. It is separated into multiple zones, each of them having its own significant role in the life of the palace. You will have the chance to marvel at the architectural excellence of the ancient Minoans while wandering through the maze-like corridors and stairways of the site.
Making the most of your visit
1. Make sure you drink plenty of water and keep a bottle with you.
2. Wear comfortable and sturdy shoes and loose- fitting clothes that allow your
skin to breath.
3. Don’t forget your hat and sunscreen as there are very few points of shade in the archaeological site.
4. It is better to visit Knossos early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid wasting time in long ticket lines under the blazing sun. (Opening Hours: Summer 08:00 – 20:00 & Winter 08:00 – 15:00 – tel: +30 2810 231940)
5. Take a digital self-guided tour that you will download on your phone and enjoy the hassle-free experience that Clio Muse App offers. This alternative audio tour is the best companion while experiencing the site at your own pace.
6. If you want to get the full experience and put everything into context the archaeological Museum should be your next stop. (Opening Hours: 08:00 – 20:00 – tel: +30 2810 27900)
Otherwise, you might as well go to the nearest beach and enjoy the crystal clear waters of Crete. And, who knows, maybe you get to see the Minoan Prince of Lilies and the blue dolphins swimming next to you!