Minoan Architecture

Posted on February 19, 2012

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The Minoan culture was one of the first civilizations to build large cities in Europe.  For the time period their architecture was certainly more advanced than their contemporaries, but they were lacking in one major element, the Arch.  Their construction techniques made use of Post and Lintel structures.  This technique does not allow for a long span between columns, thus necessitating long colonnades and heavy stone walls.  Even with this limitation on their building designs, the Bronze Age Cretans were able to create some impressive structures.  The Palace at Knossos being their crown jewel.

The excavations at Knossos have revealed a highly developed, multi-phase structure built and rebuilt over many hundreds of years.  Sadly, a majority of what is currently seen at the sight is now seen as a highly inaccurate reproduction by the most prolific excavator of the site, Sir Arthur Evans.  Evans was unable to see past his own cultural bias while explaining his findings at Knossos and these led him to make hasty conclusions as to the original form of the Palace.  These reconstructions are not without merit however.  They do give a rough idea of the grandeur of the once great city, and the awe inspired by these reconstructions should not serve to demean the accomplishments of the Minoan people, rather as a spark to learn more about these early city dwellers.

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