The Minoans

The Minoan civilization appeared period of Bronze Age and lived in Crete. Also I learned from History of Art lectures and assigned text, they were peaceful society unlike Hittites in Anatolia and Mycenaeans in Greece. This attitude was reflected to their art so their expressions. They were very good at trade of basic materials and they had some relations with Egypt culture. According to assigned text they were one of the most extraordinary cultural properties during second millenium. Knossos was the largest city and could be called urban. Knossos had 50.000 inhabitants. They used topography their own benefits. For example, in the city there were no fortification walls so they built their city without defensive walls. However, using with topographical properties in that location for protection issue, the five major cities naturally protected by hillsides. Also rather than fortification walls around the city, they built fortified communication towers along coasts to network and protection of all of island. Also Knossos known as a Labyrinth of Knossos because of their design of the palace. Thoughts about palace, owner of the palace Legendary King Minos of Greek mythology but probably served as a temple. The first version of Knossos was constructed as a temple around 1900 BCE. However, after one century collapsed in an earthquake. After reconstruction, aorund 1600 BCE, fell into ruin another natural diaster which was volcanic eruption. The final version of Knossos built aorund 1450 BCE by Mycenaeans who were conqurers of the Crete after Minoan civizilation.


Reproduction of Labyrinth of Knossos, picture taken from

The best example of Minoan urban layouts system is the small town of Gournia in Crete which only had 60 houses population. However, Gournia was more complex than a farming village, they had temple, public spaces and many other rooms for different purposes such as administration,production etc. They built their houses with small stonerooms made of stone walls without windows and doors. Also upper floor made of mud-brick walls and walls decorated spirals and botanical motifs.


One of the examples of wall decoration, their artistic attitude was surrealist and most of the decorations has a certain frame.

gournia-plan                                                                    Plan of Gornia

Also additionaly about Labyrinth, the Bull Court was one of the ritual of Minoans which was in center of the Labyrinth and almost perceft rectangle 53*27m (proportion also ritual). The Bull Court was probably performing at bull dancing which showed by some wall decoration.


About the Labyrinth of Knossos, there were no direct path from eight entry to central court which disorientation caused by circulation. So they used as a defensive function.

labyrinth-of-knossos                                               The plan of Labyrinth of Knossos

They added to windows, terrraces and loggias to keep them in contact with the landscape. Additionally, they used windows as an architectural element.

”The Minoans’ attention to nature led them to build nonaxial arrangements of space that adjusted to the topographic qualities of the land.”

Mycenaeans conqured Crete around 1450BCE and also destruction of The Minoan existence linked to a volcanic eruption in island Thera. The Mycenaeans demolished all of the temples of Minoan’s culture except Labyrinth of Knossos.


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