THE ANCIENT CENTRE OF THE MINOANS
Knossos is arguably Europe’s oldest city and one of the true treasures of early Cretan civilization. It was the centre of the Minoan world; a city of palaces and residences, ritual theatres, and other advanced architectural structures. Join us on a fascinating tour to this incredible location to find out more about the myths and legends surrounding this world-famous archaeological site. You will also learn about the story behind Sir Arthur Evans’ excavations at the beginning of the 20th Century and the 4,000-year-old Minoan artifacts that he discovered. Knossos is a couple of miles south of the island’s capital Heraklion and one of Crete’s most popular tourist destinations. It is also the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete.
The palace marks the height of Minoan power and prosperity. You can see the remnants and restored elements of this massive site, which also features large open courtyards which may have been used for public ceremonies and spectacles. Living quarters, storage rooms and administrative centres were positioned around the court and there were also working quarters for skilled craftsmen. Of the various Minoan palaces found on the island, the palace of Knossos was by far the largest, covering three acres with its main building alone and five acres when separate out-buildings are taken into account.
After visiting the historical site, we journey on to see some of the treasures within the Archaeological Museum in Heraklion, before calling in at an olive press to see how olive oil is made, and returning to the Mistral.