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West court - West facade
West%20court%20%2D%20West%20facade
Knossos Palace

The court is crossed by the so-called "Processional Causeways", which stand out from the rest of the paving and intersect each other. One idea is that processions paraded along them during ceremonies.
The West Facade of the Palace rises up along one side. The facade is constructed of massive gypsum blocks (orthostats) set on a plinth. The facade is indented or protrudes corresponding to the interior arrangement of space.
In front of the West Façade, two bases can be seen, thought to belong to stone-built altars. Settlement remains of the Neolithic (6700 - 3200 B.C.) and pre-palatial (3200 - 1900 B.C.) periods have been found beneath the level of the "West Court".
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Kouloures
Kouloures
Knossos Palace

Three large pits, known as "kouloures" (rings), with stone-lined walls were built in the West Court during the Old Palace period (1900-1700B.C.). The excavation workmen gave them their name and A. Evans kept it.
The function of the circular pits is not clear. They have been interpreted as rubbish dumps either for all the refuse from the Palace or just the left-overs from sacred offerings. Support has also been given to the idea that they were storing grain.
In two of them, it is possible to see the remains of houses of the Pre Palatial period (3200-1900 B.C.). In the New Palace period (1700-1450 B.C.),the "kouloures" were covered over and out of use.
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West Porch
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Knossos Palace

The "West Porch" was a roofed area opening onto the Court, supported by one column of which part of the gypsum base remains. The east wall was decorated with a bull-leaping fresco. There was a small "guard-room" at the back.
The porch was closed off by a double door and from here began the long "Corridor of the Procession".
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The Corridor of the Procession
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Knossos Palace

The Corridor of the Procession is named from the wall painting decorating its east wall and depicting a procession of musicians and other people holding gifts.
The floor was very fine. The "Corridor of the Procession", according to Evans, initially led to the "South Propylaeum" and continued on to the Central Court.
Today a causeway made of wood, with handrail, stands in its place, so the visitors can follow the same route.
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The South Propylaeum
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Knossos Palace

The "South Propylaeum", as we see it today, is a result of the restoration of Evans who put up a copy of the "Cup-Bearer" fresco here. The wall painting depicted a man holding a libation vase (rhyton). Its theme is connected with the "Procession Fresco" which, according to Evans, reached here, the "South Propylaeum". The pithoi (large storage jars) on the east side of the Propylaeum belong to the Postpalatial Period (1450-1100 B.C.), and indicate that the area was later used for storage.
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The South Entrance
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Knossos Palace

The south part and south facade of the palace is very eroded. Today one can only see foundations on tiered levels. At the bottom, a tower-like projection is all that remains of the south entrance to the Palace. An asceding corridor led to the Central Court.
The section of the corridor closest to the Central Court was reconstructed by Evans who put here a copy of a relief wall painting, of which only few fragments were found. On these fragments, it was possible to make out a figure wearing jewellery in the shape of lilies. The reconstruction we see here is uncertain. In Evans's opinion, it represented the "Priest-King". Other scholars think that it is a prince, whilst others believe it depicts a female figure. Anyway the original fresco which is known as the "Prince of Lilies" is one of the masterpieces in the collection of the Heraklion Museum.
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West Magazines
West%20Magazines
Knossos Palace

North of the South Propylaeum, at a lower level there is the start of the corridor that joins eighteen long and narrow storerooms, covering an area of 1300 sq.m.
In the floor of both the storerooms and corridor, there are ninety three rectangular cists, the so called "Kasellas". From the finds it appears they were used for keeping safe precious equipment and vases. There are also even larger cists in the corridor, internally lined, perhaps to hold liquids.
The pithoi (large storage jars) of the "West Magazines" bear witness to the wealth of the palace. The remains of some 150 pithoi were found, although there is room for about 400. Their contents are unknown, although they could have oil, wine, pulses, etc.
At different points of the magazine, clay tablets came to light in the Linear B script with records of an economic character. At the north end of the corridor, a large number of older clay seal impressions and clay tablets in the Cretan Hieroglyphic script were discovered.
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The Throne Room
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Knossos Palace

The antechamber of a complex of rooms that Evans named the "Throne Room".
Its name comes from the stone seat found in the room behind the antechamber, and between them were discovered traces of a burnt wooden construction. Today, a wooden seat has been placed here which is a copy of the stone one in the neighbouring chamber. After the antechamber is the central room of the complex. Right and left of the stone seat are yet more stone benches.
Pieces of fresco depicting plants and griffins, mythical beasts with a lion's body and bird's head were found in the same room. The restored fresco is in Heraklion Museum. Evans put a copy in its place. Stone vases for oil, often connected with rituals, were found on the floor. The stone basin you see was actually found in a neighbouring corridor and placed here. To the left, a low partition wall with a purification ceremonies and therefore called them "Lustral Basins".
The central room connects at the back with a series of small, dark rooms which were lit by lamps, as the finds illustrate.
The function of the complex is difficult to determine. Evans believed that the rooms were used for ceremonies with the main figure being the king of Knossos in his religious capacity. However, it seems unlikely to have been a Throne Room in the modern sense of the word.
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The Tripartite Shrine
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Knossos Palace

To the south of the Throne Room and the stairs, lies the area that has been identified as a shrine, called by Evans the "Tripartite Shrine" (Evans's restoration drawing). Its facade had columns and was divided into three parts, the central element being the highest. There is a depiction of a comparable shrine on a wall painting now on display in Heraklion Museum. Inside the shrine were found clay tablets in the Linear B script and clay seal impressions which were possibly connected with the archive of a shrine.
The remaining areas behind the "Tripartite Shrine" are thought to have been connected with the sanctuaries of the palace. At the back, two small dark rooms with pillars are known as the "Pillar Crypts". The depresions in their floor are said to indicate that these rooms were used for libations. In another room, two large, rectangular, stone-built repositories were found, sunk into the floor. They were full of clay vases and valuable objects, amongst which were the statuettes representing the "Shake Goddess". The repositories have been interpreted as the "Temlple Repositories".
The stairs on the right lead from the Central court to the upper floor of the West wing. This is largely reconstructed by Evans.
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The Piano Nobile
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Knossos Palace

The great staircase and the upper floor to which it leads are largely Evans’ creation. Evans thought that it had a function rather like the first floor of Italian Palazzi of the Renaissance, which was called Piano Nobile. In this instance, he considered that the important reception rooms of the palace would lie on the upper floor. Evans also thought that there existed a shrine, the "Tri-Columnar Shrine", and its Treasury. The basis for his restoration lies in the column and pillar bases and the ritual stone vases found collapsed onto the ground floor, like the alabaster one in the shape of a lioness head. The rectangular building next to the stairs was built a long time after the destruction of the palace. Evans interpreted it as a "Greek Temple" based on finds of the historic period.
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The Central Court
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Knossos Palace

The Central Court (dimensions ca. 50m x 25 m.) is an architectural element common to all Minoan palaces. The Court connects the different wings with one another. There was also direct access from outside the Palace. Part of the paving, which once covered the whole court, is preserved in the northwest and southwest corners, whilst near the "Throne Room", parts of the drainage system can be made out which ensured the evacuation of rain water.
It is thought that the area must have been for meetings and rituals of both a sacred and profane character
The orientation of the Central Court was north-south with a clear view of the sacred Mount Giouhtas, where an important sanctuary was located.
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East Wing - Grand Staircase
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Knossos Palace

A large part of the east wing cannot be seen from the Central Court as it is built into the side of the hill on top of which lies the rest of the Palace. It is one of the most interesting parts of the palace because two storeys are preserved below the level of the Central Court. Today, a large part of it has been reconstructed in concrete.
The storeys are connected with one another by means of a system of stairs known as the "Grand Staircase". The staircase was found during the excavation in its original position. There is a total of four flights of stairs, two for each storey. The two lower flights are preserved as they were found. The steps are broad and deep, with a gentle incline that makes for an easy ascent. The staircase is lit by a large light-well and was surrounded by a colonnade of wooden columns.
The Grand Staircase
The Grand Staircase
The Grand Staircase & Hall of Colonades - First floor
The Grand Staircase & Hall of Colonades - Ground floor
A series of corridors, spacious halls and small rooms is connected to the Grand Staircase. Evans, who believed that the Palace was the seat of the king of Knossos, hypnothesized that the residential quarters of the Royal family lay in this part of the site.

Shrine of the Double Axes
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Knossos Palace

This room lies at the southern part of east wing in an area with many small rooms (possibly storerooms and magazines), lustral basins and light-wells. It was made into a shrine at the end of the Postpalatial period (1375-1200 B.C.). It is known as the "Shrine of the Double Axes". On a bench at the back, different ritual objects were found amongst which were a stone double axe and votive clay idols - among them the terracotta figurine of a goddess with upraised arms. Similar small shrines have been found in houses of the same period.
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The House of the Chancel Screen
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Knossos Palace

This house belongs to the New Palace Period (1700-1450 B.C.) and was functionally related to the Palace. In its restored part with two columns, there was a bench on which some object of worship had probably been set up. There was a paved hall in front with a double pier - and - door partition.
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South East Houses
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Knossos Palace

The south-east house belongs to the New Palace period (1700-1450 B.C.). It was well built and decorated with wall-paintings of lillies. It had a pier-and-door partition, a pillar room and storage rooms.
A little behind it are other houses of the Old Palace period (1900-1700 B.C.) such as the house of the "Sacrificed Oxen", named after the remains of a sacrifice found there (horns of a bull and a tripod table of offerings) and the "House of the Fallen Blocks", after the blocks that had fallen from the facade of the palace due to an earthquake.
Next to "South-East House" there are houses of the Old Palace period (1900-1700 B.C.), such as that of the "Monolithic Pillars" in front of the steps. Under the small roof is a Minoan, possibly smelting kiln.

Hall of the Double Axes
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Knossos Palace

The "Hall of the Double Axes" was so named by Evans due to the double axe signs engraved on the walls of the light-well at its rear. He also thought that it was the place of residence of the King of Knossos.
The central area has openings on three sides and is therefore called a "polythyron" (system with multiple doorways). It has a slab floor and its walls were embellished with gypsum slabs and frescoes. The area between the "polythyron" and the light-well was used as a reception hall. Traces of a wooden construction were found here. Evans reconstructed a wooden throne at this spot.
Pictures: 1, 2
According to the archaeological finds, the arrangement of the apartments on the upper floor was similar to those on the ground floor.
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Queen's Megaron
Queen%27s%20Megaron
Knossos Palace

The Queen's Megaron lies in the Royal Apartments next to the "Hall of the Double Axes". It is a smaller room with a similar layout and rich decoration. Evans thought that it must have belonged to the Queen. Fragments of frescoes with dolphins and dancing ladies were found here. The room is largely restored and copies of the wall paintings have been put up on the walls. At the end of the room, a low partition wall with one column created a small space. It was thought that it was the "Queen's Bathroom" since pieces of a clay "bath" were found there.
Pictures:
The Queen's Hall 1, 2,3
A corridor joins the "Queens Megaron" with rooms that have been interpreted as places of preparation and washing.

Magazine of the Medallion Pithoi
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Knossos Palace

The magazine to the north of the Grand staircase took its name from the pithoi (large storage jars) that were found here. The jars have relief disk and rope decoration, a characteristic of the beginning of the New palace period (1700-1450 B.C.). A variety of finds show that the place had also been used as a magazine in the Old Palace period (1900-1700 B.C.).
Next door is the "Corridor of the Bays", where three small openings were used for storage. Many vases and religious artefacts were found here. The magazines were buried at the end of the New Palace period(1700-1459 B.C.).
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School Room & Lapidary's Workshop
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Knossos Palace

Here is the so-called "School Room", an area where, according to Evans, scribes were taught to write on clay tablets. He supposed that they kneaded the clay in the built mortar next to the bench. It is more likely, however that it was a workshop for ceramics or wall-painting.
Behind the "School Room" is the "Lapidary's Workshop", where blocks of crude or semi-worked lapis lacedaemoniae (spartan basalt) and stone tools were brought to light.
According to Evans, the main workshop lay on the upper floor from which vases and large stone amphora had fallen to the ground floor.

The magazine of the Giant Pithoi
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Knossos Palace

Here the excavators found a number of very large storage jars (Pithoi) and Evans named the place the "Magazines of the Giant Pithoi". These magazines are one of the older parts of the palace. The pithoi stand out for their size, the number of handles and the richness of their relief decoration with ropes and discs.
To the right of the magazines a staircase which has been reconstructed by Evans descends to the east entrance of the Palace.
The entrance is a robust construction that gives the impression of a "bastion". From this point it would have been easy to reach an important building of the palatial period, the so-called "Royal Villa" which lies outside the main archaeological site.
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The corridor of the Draught Board
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Knossos Palace

The Royal Gaming Board was found here, a kind of board game made of ivory, rock crystal, Egyptian blue, silver and gold, now in Heraklion Museum.
To the right of the corridor are the "Royal Pottery Stores", where Kamares pottery of the Old Palace period (1900-1700 B.C.) was uncovered, and to thee left, storage and workshop areas.
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North Entrance & Pillar Hall
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Knossos Palace

An open air narrow passage linked the Central Court with the North Entrance. It was paved and had a strong inclination towards the north. Right and left were two raised colonnades known as "Bastions".
Arthur Evans reconstructed the "Bastion" on the west side. He also placed a copy of a restored relief fresco of a bull here. The wall painting may have formed part of hunting scene.
The passage ends in a large hall with ten square pillars and two columns. The pillars and columns probably supported a large hall on the upper floor. Evans suggested that, due to its position on the seaward side, it was here that the produce of seaborne trade would have been checked when it reached the Palace. It was therefore named the "Customs House".
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North Lustral Basin
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Knossos Palace

This room, located beside the north entrance, resembles a cistern. Its floor is lower than the surrounding area and is reached by steps. The "Lustral Basin" was surrounded by columns and was lined with slabs of gypsum giving it a luxurious appearance. In its present form, the area has been completely reconstructed by Evans.
Areas with a similar arrangement have been found in other parts of the palace of Knossos, as well as other palaces and important Minoan buildings of the period (1700-1450 B.C.). It is not known how these places were used. However, from their construction it seems that theu would not have been filled with water, nor was there any drainage. Evans thought that they were used in purification ceremonies and therefore called these places "Lustral Basins". Evans also believed that the Palace was a sacred place. That is why, in his opinion, the "Lustral Basin"in question was used to purify visitors going into th Palace via neighbouring North Entrance.
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Theatral Area
Theatral%20Area
Knossos Palace

This area, sited at the north-west edge of the palace, was called the "Theatre" by Evans because its shape reminded him of later theatres. It is a platform and rows of steps that form a right angle. At the base of the stairs is the end of a narrow elevated road that crosses a paved court. Evans believed that the court was used for ceremonies watched by the standing viewers.
The elevated paved road continues in the opposite direction. It passes underneath the modern road to Heraklion, connecting the Palace with the Minoan town, which extended to the West and North.
Evans named the road the "Royal Road". Along the length of the road are town houses with workshops on the ground floor and residential areas on the upper floor.
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