Before the ruins. See what the ancient palace of Knossos looked like in its heyday


Following the popularity of their reconstruction of European castles and Ancient wonders Award-winning Australian insurance company Budget Direct has decided to restore a selection of palaces from around the world, one of them being the ancient Greek palace of Knossos.

In 2020 millions of people around the world are stuck at home, and even in 2021 many of these travel restrictions remain in place.

To support those looking for wheelchair travel inspiration, Direct budget decided to bring some of the world’s most impressive palaces back to life, bringing them back to their former glory via digital means.

For this project, with the help of a team of architects and extensive documentary research, Direct budget practically rebuilt 7 ruined palaces around the world, including:

  1. Knossos Palace, Greece
  2. San Souci, Haiti
  3. Qal eh Dokhtar, Iran
  4. Ruzhany Palace, Belarus
  5. Dungur Palace (Palace of the Queen of Sheba)
  6. Clarendon Palace, United Kingdom
  7. Husuni Kubwa, Tanzania
Digital reconstruction of the artist’s impression of the Knossos Palace in Antiquity. By Budget Direct

The town of Knossos, which surrounds the Palace of Knossos, is considered the oldest city in Europe.

It was colonized as early as the Neolithic period around 700 BC and by 1500 BC had a population of 100,000 people.

The largest Bronze Age archaeological site in Crete, the Palace of Knossos is located just south of Heraklion, near the northern coast of Crete.

Knossos Palace

Knossos Palace
Artist’s impression of what the Palace of Knossos looked like in Antiquity. Photos by Budget Direct.

Built around 1700 BC, the Palace of Knossos is the most complex in Greece and is considered to be the first palace built during the IO period of the Middle Minoan.The palace was abandoned at some point in the late Minoan IIIC, 1380 – 1100 BC, for reasons which are largely unknown.

During the Bronze Age, the Palace of Knossos was the ceremonial, religious, economic and political center of the Minoan civilization.

The archaeological site of the Palace of Knossos covers approximately 20,000 square meters, spread over three acres of land and includes more than 1,500 rooms.

The excavation of the site has provided historians with a wealth of information on the Minoan civilization.

Tools such as coils and incised whorls of clay and stone indicate the existence of a cloth-making industry.

Knossos vase

Artifacts as well as the many frescoes on the wall of the ruins provide a better understanding of the Minoan culture.

Painted in a style emphasizing movement and grace, these frescoes depict scenes of agile young athletes, ladies chatting and dancing, and dolphins and other animals in magical gardens.

A fresco depicts the ancient sport of bull jumping, a sport that may have given rise to the legend of the mythical Minotaur, a creature from later Greek mythology who was half man and half bull.

The possibility that there is a Minotaur became more acceptable once it was understood that in the Minoan sport of the bull, the male athlete “became one with the bull” by leaping over the horns. of the bull.

It would therefore be logical that this sport evoked in ancient consciousness the “myth” of the Minotaur through the impression that these athletes were half-men and half-bulls.

Knossos frescoes

The ruins of the palace foundations reveal a vast interconnected labyrinth of small corridors, stairs and private rooms containing dwellings, workshops, administrative spaces.

Since the discovery of the intricate interior of the Palace of Knossos, it has been speculated that this intricate structure, combined with the symbolism of the ubiquitous bull in the ruins, provided the distant inspiration behind the labyrinth in the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur.

The wooden stairs leading to large upper rooms have not survived the ages, but probably once rose five stories.

An elaborate and advanced system of terracotta drains, conduits and pipes provided water and sanitation.

Vertical shafts in the structure known as skylights were designed to bring natural light to lower levels, creating an airy and comfortable atmosphere.

Despite the fact that the Palace of Knossos was first excavated over a century ago, it is still shrouded somewhat in mystery and research has many questions about the palace and the people who inhabited it.

The controversial restoration of parts of the palace over the years has remained at the center of historical debate, with many arguing that the reconstruction was based on “a historically incorrect creative license”.

archaeological site of the palace of knossos
The archaeological site of Knossos, with restored pieces in the background.


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Archeology, archaeological site, Belarus Dungur Palace, bronze age, jumping bulls, Clarendon Palace, Crete, Greece, Greek history, Greek mythology, Haiti Qal eh Dokhtar, Husuni Kubwa, Iran Ruzhany Palace, Knossos, Knossos palace, Labyrinth, minoan , Minos, Minotaur, Neolithic, Queen of Sheba, San Souci, Tanzania, Theseus and the Minotaur, United Kingdom

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