Knossos is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and has been called Europe's oldest city.
In Greek mythology, King Minos dwelt in a palace at Knossos. He had Daedalus construct a labyrinth, a very large maze (by some connected with the double-bladed axe, or labrys) in which to retain his son, the Minotaur. Daedalus also built a dancing floor for Queen Ariadne.
Since their discovery, the ruins have undergone a history of their own, from excavation by renowned archaeologists, education, and tourism, to occupation as a headquarters by governments warring over the control of the eastern Mediterranean in two world wars. This site history is to be distinguished from the ancient.
Burial place of Kazantzakis
The grave of the important Cretan writer Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957) is located at the highest point of the Walls of Heraklion, the Martinengo Bastion, with panoramic views to the ugly, but also historical, concrete jungle of Heraklion.
His books "The Last Temptation", "Christ re-crucified" and "Captain Michalis" were designated as "anti-Christian" and "sacrilegious" and had brought the church very close to the author's excommunication in 1955.
The Greek Church had asked the Greek State to forbid the distribution of the books.
Nikos Kazantzakis died of leukemia on October 26, 1957 in Germany. The archbishop Theoklitos did not give permission to expose his body for public veneration in Athens on November 4th. on November 5th, the body arrived in Crete and was exposed in the cathedal of Saint Minas for one day. On November 6th, the Archbishop of Crete Eugen, under the presence of the Greek Minister of Education Gerokostopoulos, conducted the funeral, while fanatics burnt books outside the church. The body was then accompanied by thousands of Cretans to the grave, atop the bastion of Martinengo.
His simple grave have an inscription from his own writing:
"I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free".