The area continued to be occupied by an estimated 18,000 people in the so called Pre-palatial period, which runs from 3.000 to 1.900 BC. At the end of this period the area was levelled for the erection of a large palace.
This first Knossos palace was destroyed around 1.628 BC, probably by an earthquake of which the epic centrum was on Santorini, a volcanic island, situated 140 km north of Crete.
A second, larger palace was built on the ruins of the first one. Between 1.700-1.450 BC the Minoan civilization was at its peak with a population of about 100.000 people. The legendary King Minos resided at Knossos and it was the most important city-state of the island. Knossos maintained ties with the majority of cities in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Knossos palace is a monumental symbol of the Minoan civilization, due to its construction, the use of luxurious materials, the painted plaster, marble revetments and wall-paintings adorning the rooms and passages. Furthermore the architectural lay-out, the advanced building techniques that were used are impressive in size.