The construction of the palace began about 4,000 years ago, however after approximately 300 years the original palace was destroyed. A much more magnificent palace was built upon its ruins, which was also destroyed around the year 1450 BC. This occurred during a violent earthquake, which hit not only the island of Crete but also the island of Santorini.
Before it was destroyed, this palace covered an area of about two square kilometers. It was developed around the famous legend of the labyrinth built by King Minos. The labyrinth was built to hold the Minotaur - a human being with the head of an ox born to the king's wife. In this labyrinth, the architect Daedalus and his son Icarus were imprisoned and from there the two took off to the sky.
According to Greek mythology, Icarus was the only son to Daedalus. He was a reckless, clumsy child, whose father was an artist and an inventor. When King Minos of Crete asked him to build the labyrinth, a maze designed to hide from the world and hold the monstrous Minotaur, the son of Minus's wife, Daedalus did so willingly. He managed to create a labyrinth form which the Minotaur could not escape.
However, once Dedalus finished building the labyrinth, he was surprised when King Minos imprisoned him and Icarus in a tower so that no one would discover the secrets of the labyrinth.
Daedalus and Icarus managed to escape from the tower and decided to flee the island of Crete. But the island was surrounded by ships and guards, so the two decided to make wings of birds' feathers, which were connected by wires of wax.
Before they began to fly, the father warned Icarus not to fly close to the sun, for fear that the hot sun would dissolve his wings. But when they began to fly, the impulsive Icarus was excited by the flight and began to rise up, forgetting his father's warnings. As Daedalus feared, the heat of the sun quickly melted the wax of his wings, and Icarus fell down from the sky, plummeting into the sea to his death.
Since then, the story of Icarus has been a warning sign for people, not to be reckless adventurers who take unnecessary risks, forgetting all precautions.
Knossos probably served as the political and commercial center of Minoan culture. The antiquities that remain to this day provide an exciting site for the island's visitors.
At the beginning of the last century, the archaeologist Arthur Evans discovered this vast palace. In March 1900, barely a month after he began the excavations, he uncovered the throne hall where Evans then found King Minos' original throne.
Later on during the excavations, the palace, shaped like a complex labyrinth, was discovered, with halls and living rooms alongside warehouses and workshops where former craftsmen, jewelers, and potters, worked in the past.
The walls of the palace that Evans discovered were covered with paintings depicting life in Crete during the Late Bronze Age. These impressive frescoes, like most of the important artifacts discovered here at Knossos, were transferred to the Archaeological Museum in Heraklion, which contains the world's largest collection of Minoan art.
Apart from exciting and important archaeological discoveries, Evans did something else for which he was less appreciated. He began to reconstruct the palace and created a great deal of controversy over this activity. With great creativity and imagination, he literally rebuilt many parts of the palace. The construction was done with concrete, which is now considered a serious alteration to the findings.
In addition, Evans brought painters artists who "renovated" the frescoes discovered on the walls of the palace. In so doing, it made the place much more impressive and colorful but significantly damaged its authenticity.
It is important to note that renewal of the painting is not a reconstruction of it, at least not according to today's accepted standards. There are also some scholars who claim that some of the renewed paintings were not accurate in the original subjects that were painted on the wall.