Knossos is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and has been called Europe's oldest city.
Settled as early as the Neolithic period, the name Knossos survives from ancient Greek references to the major city of Crete. The palace of Knossos eventually became the ceremonial and political centre of the Minoan civilization and culture.
From an archaeological point of view, the terms "Knossos" and "palace" are somewhat ambiguous. The palace was never just the residence of a monarch, although it contained rooms that might have been suitable for a royal family. The palace of Knossos was by far the largest, covering three acres with its main building alone and five acres when separate out-buildings are considered. It had a monumental staircase leading to state rooms on an upper floor.