knossos archaeological place

Crete lies at the crossroads of the three continents of Europe, Africa and Asia. The largest of the Greek Islands, Crete is the home of Europe’s earliest known civilisation, the Minoans. The strategic position of Crete in the middle of the Mediterranean has led to an almost constant battle to control the island from ancient times until the present century.
The Stone Age – 6000-2600 BC.
Crete’s first inhabitants probably came from Anatolia in Asia Minor, or possibly Africa. They were cave dwellers who eventually began to build simple huts from burnt clay bricks. Probably one of the island’s most important Neolithic setdements was at Knossos.
The Minoans (Bronze Age) – 2000 -1400 BC.
From about 2000 BC. onwards new and highly civilised immigrants joined with the indigenous population to become the «Minoans». A sophisticated society developed. Skilled craftsmen such as stonemasons, potters, metalworkers, jewellers and weavers were at work. Agriculture thrived. Metal tools replaced stone. The society acquired a structure and hierarchy and palaces were built at Knossos, Phaestos, Malia and Zakros.
The Minoans had a merchant fleet selling wares throughout the Mediterranean with trading posts and colonies in places such as the Cyclades, Rhodes and as far afield as Asia Minor, Egypt and the East. Trade rather than military power extended their empire. Around the time of 1700 BC the palaces were destroyed for the first time, the most likely cause being an earthquake or tidal wave.
The palaces were rebuilt even more splendidly and the society and culture continued to prosper. The palaces were decorated with frescoes and were often on several levels with courtyards, wide staircases and complex plumbing and drainage systems. Art flourished with the rebuilding of the palaces, which featured sculptures incorporating naturalistic human figures and animals. As the craftsmen became more skilled, so their wares changed. Beautiful pottery and stone vessels in many different shapes and designs and often decorated with local scenes, have been found.
This flourishing, peaceful and wealthy society, with an influence felt throughout the Mediterranean and beyond, was not to last. A minor earthquake in about 1600BC saw the beginning of the decline. The damage was repaired but complete destruction followed around 1450 BC, when the palaces [with the exception of Knossos] and many settlements were razed. The cause is still the subject of debate and conjecture, but is thought to have been either the devastating eruption of Santorini, war or civil insurrection. Knossos survived but soon the Mycenean Greeks invaded from the mainland and took over what was left of Minoan society.

How to get to knossos archaeological place from Chania, Pension Nora