Knossos was the capital of the Minoan civilization; the Minoans ruled on the island of Crete from ca. 2000 BCE to 1500 BCE, after a fire presumably consumed the second palace of Knossos. Scholars and archaeologists are still not certain what lead to the end of the Minoan civilization on the island, although many claim that it was because of a natural disaster, most probably a fire.
The city is mentioned by Homer in his “Odyssey” as the home of the King Minos; the civilization would be given his name.
The site was also believed to be the setting of the myth of the Labyrinth and the Minotaur.
There were two versions of the palace, of which the second palace was constructed under a unified Minoan culture – evidenced by discovered pottery. During the time of the original palace, pottery samples from various sites suggest that the island did not enjoy a unified system of culture until c.1700 BCE, when the first palace was destroyed and the second palace was built on a grander, yet smaller, scale.