I have been to the island of Crete several times, the first time it was a sightseeing trip - driving through the whole island in about 3-4 days, another year I was accompanying a relative from abroad, followed by a one-week summer vacation for the family because of an invitation from another family who knows a hotel manager (connection is important here, great discount!) in Elounda, another time we had to attend a wedding near Agios Nikolaos; the Greek tradition calls for the wedding ceremony to be held at the bride’s hometown.
In each of those trips, I missed the most important cultural site, the Knossos ruin. Finally, in November 2008, we took a weekend get-away trip to stay only in the city of Iraklio and visit its surrounding area, so it gave me a chance to study the Minoan culture.
Like some people, I didn’t care much about pre-visit preparations and despite having a good camera my battery went dead right on the spot. Nevertheless, here are the picture collections taken from a mobile phone.
Knossos palace was estimated to be built around 1900 BC (scroll down the linked page to read the subtitle events to have a general idea of the cultural events between the middle and the late bronze age), but was destroyed the first time around 1700 BC, then rebuilt soon, destroyed again possibly by the eruption of volcano in Thera (aka Santorini), which occurred between 1627 BC and 1600 BC. This range of years of eruption is being disputed by scholars. Another theory believes that the destruction of Knossos is due to tsunami, or an earlier earthquake separate from the eruption in Thera. For details of the newer theories, read the immediate preceding linked page under the subtitle Historical impact, Minoan civilization.
In any case, a fire must have accompanied the disaster because some stones are left with black marks.
For some images of the artifacts from the Minoan culture go to this link
For a famous mythology and the origin of naming the Aegean Sea (愛琴海), read Theseus and the Minotaur or the wiki Theseus under the subtitle Minotaur.
For a better image of the king’s throne as I could only view and took a picture from a distance http://www.culture.gr/h/2/eh251.jsp?obj_id=716