Archaeology Of Crete

No trip to the island would be complete without visiting some of the archaeology of Crete. The island of Crete had the first European civilization over 7000 years ago with the Minoans, and most of the archaeology of Crete dates from this period. Between 3000 and 1100 BC a unique civilization developed and flourished on the island of Crete. The arrival of new peoples, new technologies and new ideas transformed the small pre-existing Neolithic communities over a period of hundreds of years. By 2000 BC the Minoans began to build palaces, conducted trade across wide areas of the eastern Mediterranean, and developed a hierarchical society with centralized administration and produced wonderful pottery, jewelry, statues, carvings, frescoes and other artefacts. Remains of dozens of sites where the Minoans lived and worked can still be seen on Crete today. This civilization came to an end around 1400 BC. Why is still not clear and many theories abound.

Knossos 1

Archaeology Of Crete: Knossos

From then on, Crete was invaded by all its neighbours, starting with the Mycenaean’s, then the Dorians and later the Romans. Evidence of their occupation can be found still around the island. The fall of the Roman Empire put Crete under the rule of the Byzantine Empire and Christianity was further established.

The Arabs invaded and conquered Crete in the 8th – 9th century, it was then taken back by the Byzantine Empire, and eventually sold to the Venetians in the early 13th century. The rule of the Venetians prevailed until 1669 when the island surrendered to the Turks. Turkish rule lasted until 1898 when Crete was placed under international administration after a particularly bloody revolution. In 1913, Crete was officially attached to Greece. All these invaders have left their mark on Crete and can be seen at archeological sites, buildings and odd pieces of inscribed marble incorporated into newer buildings.

Archaeology Of Crete:

Crete was the centre of Europe’s earliest civilisation, in 7000 BC. There are a great number of archaeological sites to visit mostly from the Minoan period.  The Minoan civilisation flourished in Crete between 2700 BC and 1450BC. However there is Venetian, Roman and Turkish archaeology to be found.

Knossos is the largest of the preserved Minoan palaces and thought to be the centre of Minoan civilisation. Knossos was the legendary home of King Minos and said to be the source of the mythical Labyrinth which held the Minotaur. There are many other fantastic Minoan palaces across the island such as: Malia and Festos.

Knossos 2

Archaeology Of Crete: Dolphin Fresco

Other interesting archaeological sites worth a visit in Western Crete include:

  • Almiretha
  • Aptera
  • Kissamos
  • Falasarna
  • Rothopos

Guided visits can be arranged to all these sites as part of your activity visit to Crete if you wish, just ask for details.

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