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Knossos (also known as Knossos Palace) is the largest archeological site on Crete. It was the ceremonial and political centre of the Minoan civilization and culture.
The site has had a very long history of habitation, this started with the founding of the first Neolithic settlement around 7000 BC. Over time, Knossos grew until, by the 19th to 16th centuries BC, the settlement possessed not only a monumental administrative and religious centre (the Palace), but also a surrounding population of about 8000 people.
The city of Knossos remained important through the Classical abd Roman periods, but during the 9th century AD, its population shifted to the new town of Handaq (modern Heraklion). Today, the name Knossos is used only for the archeological site situated in the suburbs of Heraklion.
Today, the palace appears as a maze of workrooms, living spaces and store rooms close to a central square. Detailed images of Cretan life in the late Bronze Age are provided by images on the walls of the palace. Today it is a popular tourist destination, mainly because it is near the main city of Heraklion and because the palace has been substantially restored by archeologist Arthur Evans.