Knossos is the main center of the Minoan civilization and it was discovered in 1878 by merchant Minoas Kalokairinos.
A. Evans began systematic excavations in 1900, which continued until 1931, when the palace, a large part of Minoan city and cemeteries were discovered. Since then, the excavations have continued in the wider area of Knossos by the English Archaeological School and the 23rd Service of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities. Knossos is placed on the top of the hill of Kefalas village, surrounded by olives trees, vineyards and cypress trees and it is located 5 km southeast of Heraklion, by river Kairatos (presently known as Katsampas). According to tradition, it was the seat of King Minos and capital of the state. There is a connection between the palace of Knossos and the myths of the Labyrinth with the Minotaur and Daedalus and Icarus. There have been references to Knossos, to its palace and to Minos by Homer, Thucydides, and Herodotus, as well as by Plutarch. The city reached its peak during the Minoan times (2000 - 1350 BC), when it constituted the most significant and largest center of Crete. However, Knossos has played an important role and developed particularly during various periods, such as the Hellenistic period. The ancient relics of Knossos, scattered around the area, attest to its significance. The monuments include Knossos Palace, which is the largest center of Minoan power and is 22,000 sq ft in size, the small Palace, the royal mansion, the house of frescoes, the southern residence, the unexplored residence, the guest house and the Royal Tomb Sanctuary. The monuments surviving to our days date from the neopalatial period, when the second palace (1700 - 1450 BC) and various other building complexes were built. However, apart from the remnants of the Minoan era monuments, there are certain cemeteries from various periods surviving, proving the continuous inhabitance of Knossos.