The Palace of Knossos is located just south of modern-day Heraklion near the north coast of Crete. Built by a civilization that we call the Minoans, it covers about 150,000 square feet (14,000 square meters), the size of more than two football fields, and was surrounded by a town in antiquity. The site became prominent in the early 20th century when it was excavated and restored by a team led by British archaeologist Arthur Evans.
The original layout of the palace cannot be seen anymore because of the subsequent modifications. There are about 1300 rooms connected to each other with corridors of different sizes. The palace had four wings arranged around a central court, each with its own entrance: the east wing houses, the residential quarters, the workshops, and a shrine. The west wing was the storerooms, shrines, and repositories when on the upper floors were the throne room and the banquet halls. The north wing consists of the Customs House with a lustral bin and a stone-built theatrical area. At the south wing was the South Propylon which could be said that is the most imposing building.
A long-standing debate between archaeologists concerns the main function of the palace, whether it acted as an administrative center, a religious center, or both, in a theocratic manner. Other important debates consider the role of Knossos in the administration of Bronze Age Crete, and whether Knossos acted as the primary center, or was on equal footing with the several other contemporaneous palaces that have been discovered on Crete. Many of these palaces were destroyed and abandoned in the early part of the fifteenth century BC, possibly by the Mycenaeans, although Knossos remained in use until it was destroyed by fire about one hundred years later. Knossos showed no signs of being a military site; for example, it had neither fortifications nor stores of weapons.