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Introducing Knossos

Knossos (k-nos-os), 5km from Iraklio, was the capital of Minoan Crete and the Palace of Knossos (28102 31940; admission €6; 8am-7pm Jun-Oct, 8am-3pm Nov-May) is the island’s major tourist attraction.

The ruins of Knossos, home of the mythical Minotaur kept by King Minos, were uncovered in the early 1900s by the British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans. Heinrich Schliemann, who had uncovered the ancient cities of Troy and Mycenae, had had his eye on the spot but was unable to strike a deal with the landowner.

Evans spent 35 years and £250, 000 of his own money excavating and reconstructing parts of the palace. Some archaeologists have disparaged Evans’ controversial reconstruction, believing he sacrificed accuracy to his overly vivid imagination. However, most nonexperts agree that Sir Arthur did a good job and the reconstructions allow you to visualise what a Minoan palace looked like.

You will need to spend some time at Knossos to explore it thoroughly.