The Palace of Knossos (#)
Ministry of Culture, 20-22 Bouboulinas Street, 10682 Athens
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The Minoan Palace at Knossos, the largest (it covers an area of 22000 sqm) and most glorious of all Minoan Palaces in Crete is also known as the seat of power the legendary king Minos the famous judge and legislator. It was excavated partly by M.Kalokairinos and fully by A. Evans between 1900-1905. On the commanding hill of Kephala around 2000 B.C. a large building (the Old Palace) was erected in a plan likely similar to that of the second (New) Palace with multi storey structures surrounding an open space, the Central Court. This Old Palace was destroyed around 1700 B.C. and it was immediately rebuilt (New Palace) with great splendor following an architectural plan in which around a Central Court oriented N-S, and a court to the west four major wings with hundreds of rooms are laid out, each wing designed for a particular function: the west wing was devoted to shrines and storages, the principal shrine being possibly the Throne Room and the adjacent so-called Tripartite Shrine; the north wing includes the so-called Teloneion of "Customs house" the east side preserved today at least three storeys high includes the Grand Staircase with the Royal Residence Quarters while the south side is mainly, devoted to the Great S. Propyleum the main entrance to the Palace. The New Palace ceased to function as a great power by mid 14th B.C. The Palace of Knossos, which was not simply the residence of the royal family but also the political, economic and religious center of Crete is a masterpiece of Minoan architecture and constitutes a monument of outstanding universal value.