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wonders of knossos palace ruins of knossos palace picturing the two famous red columns.

Exploring the Wonders of Knossos Palace in Crete

Located in the heart of Crete, the ancient Knossos Palace is a cultural treasure that has captured the hearts of many tourists visiting the Greek island. The palace is believed to have been built around 2000 BC and was home to the Minoan civilization that ruled the island during the Bronze Age. With its intricate design features, impressive frescoes, and remarkable history, the Knossos Palace is truly a remarkable landmark that is definitely worth exploring. Join me as we delve deeper into the world of the Knossos Palace and discover its hidden wonders.


One of the most striking features of the Knossos Palace is its unique architecture. Its design features projecting and recessing facades, complex staircases, and horizontal expanse with splendid views. The palace was built in layers, with different sections allotted to specific functions. The throne room, communal areas, storerooms, and private quarters all had their designated locations.

The architecture of the Knossos Palace in Crete is characterized by a number of unique and important elements. 

One of the most notable features is the use of projecting and recessing facades, which give the building a distinctive appearance and make it difficult to take in from any single viewpoint. The building is also notable for its predominant horizontal expanse, which emphasizes its connection to the ground and makes it appear broad and sprawling. The major elements of the facade are arranged horizontally, including the krepidoma, the orthostates, and the upper masonry, which further emphasizes the building’s horizontal orientation.

Another important architectural element of the Knossos Palace is the use of a series of stage-like focal points along the main passages, which help to guide visitors through the building and create a sense of progression and hierarchy. The West Porch is a particularly notable example of this, featuring a single massive column and a painting of a bull that introduces visitors to the building and its legends. The upper-story windows are also arranged in horizontal bands, reinforcing the building’s dominant direction and emphasizing its horizontal orientation. 

Overall, the architecture of the Knossos Palace is characterized by a unique combination of horizontal expanse, projecting and recessing facades, and stage-like focal points that create a sense of progression and hierarchy.

Visitors can marvel at the architecture, which holds a particular significance in ancient Minoan society and served as a spectacular sight to behold. With its beautiful layout, ancient architecture, and incredible history, the Knossos Palace should be on every traveler’s bucket list. 

Theatral Area

Ruins of Knossos Palace

The Theatral Area is an impressive part of the Knossos Palace that was specifically designed for performance purposes. This area was used as a stage for various festivals, ceremonies, and performances. It was an important social hub that saw a variety of Minoans come together to celebrate their heritage.

The Theatral Area consisted of two banks of seats that met at a right angle, with a narrow pavilion at the top of the eastern bank supported by three pillars. A pair of Horns of Consecration, which may have belonged to the entablature of the pavilion, were found in the Public Court. At the southwest corner of the Theatral Area, a second pavilion with one pillar in antis framed the northwestern edge of the Public Court. 

These small pavilions recall the porticoes that had been associated with the Theatral Areas since their origins in the First Palatial period. The Theatral Area at Knossos was reduced in size during the Neopalatial period by raising the level of the Theatral Area courtyard, which covered the lowest courses of the Old Palace facade and the first five risers of the Theatral Area. The seating capacity was reduced by half, but the back (north) wall was moved back about a meter, increasing the space at the top of the seats.

In addition to the Theatral Area at the Knossos Palace, a few towns in Crete also had miniature Theatral Areas. At Gournia, a small Theatral Area was built along the south facade of the so-called Palace overlooking the north end of the Public Court. Like the Theatral Area at Knossos, it consisted of two banks of seats that met at a right angle, with a narrow pavilion at the top of the eastern bank supported by three pillars. 

Visitors can relive the history of ancient Minoan culture by exploring this fascinating area. You will be surprised to learn that the Theatral Area is located right at the heart of the palace, highlighting its importance within the structure and Minoan society. 

Palace Frescoes 

Knossos Palace Frescoes

The Palace Frescoes are one of the most awe-inspiring art pieces to explore while touring the Knossos Palace. The frescoes are painted pieces of art on the palace walls that have remained incredibly well-preserved over the years. The frescoes depict various themes and subjects, from religious iconography to celebrations of everyday life. The frescoes shine with their own unique beauty, displaying the Minoan’s artistic skills and ingenuity. The frescoes have a distinctive style characterized by the use of vibrant colours, three-dimensional space, and gold leaf.

These frescoes depict a wide range of subjects, including religious rituals, daily life, and mythological scenes. One of the most famous frescoes is the Bull-Leaping Fresco, which shows a young man leaping over the back of a bull while two other figures hold the animal’s horns. This fresco is thought to depict a religious ritual or sport that was popular in ancient Crete. Another well-known fresco is the Prince of the Lilies, which shows a young man holding a lily and wearing a distinctive headdress. This fresco is thought to depict a prince or other high-ranking individual, and it is notable for its use of vivid colors and intricate details.

Knossos Palace Frescoes

The Palace Frescoes of Knossos are also notable for their use of perspective and three-dimensional space. Many of the frescoes use a technique known as “flying gallop” to depict animals in motion, and they often show figures in a variety of poses and positions. The frescoes also make use of a wide range of colors, including red, blue, yellow, and green, and they often incorporate gold leaf and other decorative elements. Overall, the Palace Frescoes of Knossos are a testament to the skill and creativity of the Minoan artists who created them, and they continue to inspire and captivate viewers to this day. 

Visitor Information

As a popular tourist destination, the Knossos Palace welcomes visitors from all over the world. Visitors can explore the outstanding palace and get lost in its magical ambience. Guided tours are available, providing in-depth insights into the history and culture of the palace. It’s important to note that visitors must stay on the paths, and photo-flash is not allowed in the frescoed areas. Tickets can be purchased at the entrance, with reduced fees offered to children, students, and senior citizens. The palace is open all year round, except on public holidays. Plan your visit to this captivating landmark and discover the beauty of ancient Minoan civilization.

Exploring the Knossos Palace in Crete is an enthralling experience that can take you back in time and teach you new things about the ancient Minoan civilization. The palace’s unique architectural features, Theatral Area, and Palace Frescoes have made it a significant cultural landmark in Greece. As you prepare for your trip, remember to pack comfortable shoes, water, and a camera for capturing the beautiful memories. Join me today in visiting this impressive Palace and discovering the magic in the history of the ancient Minoan civilization.