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KNOSSOS

Knossos is the most important archeological site of Crete’s Bronze Age. It rises in the center of the Island, six kilometers from the sea and five from Heraklion. Along with the other Cretan palaces, Knossos was conceived to become the political, administrative, religious and economic center of the Minoic maritime empire and towards that extent it was bestowed with an aura of sacredness. The palace was 22.000 square meters big, with several floors and a most intricate distribution of spaces. It is said that it could host some 12.000 persons as it contained 1.300 rooms, in addition to halls for their cult and for receptions, the kings and queens quarters, and several other areas for the numerous public servants. This ‘second palace’ was built  in the beginning of the 16th century BC,  on the ruins of an older palace built around year 2.000 BC, which was probably destroyed by the 1628 BC earthquake  attributed to the explosion of the Santorini volcano, followed by a devastating tsunami. This enormous palace was considered to be the mythical Labyrinth designed by Athenian architect Dedalus assisted by his son Icarus, who made wax wings to escape from the palace. The myth narrates that the Cretan sun melted Icarus’ wings and he subsequently fell to his death. The palace symbol was the Lavrys, a double cutting ax, also found in the first part of the word Labyrinth. Worth mentioning and visiting are the palace baths, especially the ones in the Queen’s apartments which, according to careful and detailed studies, are extremely advanced for that period of time.

 

 

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