Knossos was undeniably the capital of Minoan Crete. It is grander, more complex, and more flamboyant than any of the other palaces known to us, and it is located about twenty minutes south of the modern port town of Iraklio.
Knossos was inhabited for several thousand years, beginning with a Neolithic settlement sometime in the seventh millennium BC, and was abandoned after its destruction in 1375 BC which marked the end of Minoan civilization.
The first palace on the low hill beside the Krairatos River was built around 1900 BC on the ruins of previous settlements. It was destroyed for the first time, along with the other Protopalatial palaces, around Crete at 1700 BC, probably by a large earthquake or foreign invaders.
It was immediately rebuilt to an even more elaborate complex and, until its abandonment, was damaged several times during earthquakes, invasions, and in 1450 BC by the colossal volcanic eruption of Thera, and the invasion of Mycenaeans who used it as their capital as they ruled the island of Crete until 1375 BC.