On Kefalas hill, in the valley of the river Kairatos, 5km southeast of Heraklion city, you will come across Knossos, the most important centre of Minoan civilization since it is said to have been the seat of king Minos and capital of the empire.
According to historical evidence, Knossos seems to have been continuously inhabited from the Neolithic period up to the 5th century A.D., while it is inextricably associated with the Labyrinth and Minotaur myth, and with Daidalos and Ikaros myth. Homer, Thucydides, Hesiod, Herodotus, Plutarch as well as others also refer to Knossos.
Knossos flourished during the Minoan period mostly and it was the largest and most densely populated centre in Crete, while it played a vital role during the Hellenistic period. It was discovered in 1878 by Minos Kalokairinos, while Sir Arthur Evans started systematic excavations in 1900, and managed to reveal the whole Palace.
One of the most important monuments in Knossos archaeological site is the Knossos Palace -it was the command centre of Minoan Knossos- one of the most impressive Minoan palaces, built in an area of 22,000m², while its biggest part is located on an artificial hill.
The Little Palace, Royal Villa, House of frescoes, South Mansion, Unexplored Mansion, Hospice, Temple Tomb, are also worth a visit.