If you are in Crete, hiring a car from Hersonissos Car Hire in order to visit the numerous and important archaeological sites of the island is an absolute must. Knossos Palace and the Heraklion Museum are not to be missed, as they depict the history of the Minoan Civilization in the most graphic and precise way.
The Minoan Palace of Knossos, the largest palace in Crete, lies at a distance of 5 km from Heraklion and almost 28km away from Hersonissos. It is the Palace of the infamous King Minos; it is an imposing palace and site, a palace admired for its strategic location, its robust but artistic structure and its development. It was excavated and partially restored by the British Archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans, who also planted the pine trees in the site.
In Knossos you will admire the Throne room, the apartments of King Minos and the Queen, the Minoan workshops, the storage rooms, and the House of the frescoes. According to the historians, the area was inhabited since 6,000 BC during the Neolithic Times, as the layers of this era are considered among the deepest in Europe.
The Palace you can see there today was built on the same site as the older ones, but it was more elaborate and complex than the previous ones. Knossos became the focal point of the Minoan Civilization that was, though, destroyed as a result of the massive eruption of the volcano in Santorini and its aftermaths.
Archaeological Museum of Heraklion
If you decide to visit the Palace of Knossos, you should also visit the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, one of the most important museums in Greece and Europe. It contains the vast majority of remains found in excavations in all sites in Crete, including Knossos, Phaistos and more.
The Museum features important artefacts, such as the Phaistos Disc, the clay disc found at the site in Phaistos, with hieroglyphics and ideograms (known as Linear B) that have not be decoded and identified yet.
The Snake Goddesses, whose name was given due to the snakes they are holding, are figurines depicting the goddesses of fertility and they can also be found here. The museum boasts a large collection of Minoan Jewelry including ivory hair combs, the famous Bee jewels with their lovely representations of two bees carrying honey to the comb and many more of the everyday life of the Cretan women.
The collection of the Heraklion Museum includes frescoes and mosaics from the Palaces; the Minoan Fresco “La Parisienne’ is probably the most known fresco found in Crete, while parts of the frescoes found in the Prince and King Chambers in Knossos were moved to the museum in order to be well protected.
Visiting the museum you will also be able to see the ivory statute of the Bull Leaper as well as the symbol of the Minoan Civilization, the Double Axes.
Hire a Car from Hersonissos Car Hire and do not miss the chance to see some of the most important artefacts found in Crete, during your stay at this beautiful island.