The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age civilization on the island of Crete and other Aegean Islands which flourished from c. 2700 to c. 1450 BC.
The name Minoan" derives from the mythical King Minos and was coined by British archeologist Sir Arthur Evans, who identified the site at Knossos with the labyrinth and the Minotaur.
The Minoan civilization is one of the most advanced cultures of its time, with major noted breakthroughs in legislation, tool-making, architecture, plumbing, language, and more. Although many details about their religious practices have been lost to the passage of the ages, there is evidence to suggest that they worshiped a Great Goddess, which led to the belief that their society was matriarchal. However it is now known that this was not the case. The Minoan Pantheon featured many deities, among which a young, spear-wielding male God is also prominent.
The passage of the ages has unfortunately erased much evidence about their culture, but several writing systems dating from the Minoan Period have been unearthed in Crete, with the most well known one being Linear A, dated to between 2500 BC and 1450 BC. Linear A is the parent of the related Linear B script, which encodes the earliest known form of Greek. Several attempts to translate Linear A have been made, but consensus is lacking and Linear A is currently considered undeciphered.
Minoan cities were connected by narrow roads paved with blocks cut with bronze saws. Streets were drained, and water and sewage facilities were available to the upper class through clay pipes. The most majestic examples of Minoan architecture were the palaces (anaktora) that served as the centers of government, administrative offices, shrines, workshops, and storage.
The best-preserved (and most instructive) surviving examples of Minoan art are its pottery, palace architecture (with frescoes which include landscapes), stone carvings and intricately-carved seal stones. The largest collection of Minoan art is hosted in the museum of Heraklion, near Knossos, on the northern coast of Crete.
The Minoans raised cattle, sheep, pigs and goats, domesticated bees, and grew wheat, barley, vetch and chickpeas. They also cultivated grapes, figs and olives, grew poppies for seed and perhaps opium. The Minoans traded in saffron, which they also used for dye, and may have also had religious significance.
The exact reasons for the demise of the Minoan civilization are still up to debate. Several structures and settlements have seemingly been destroyed by fire around 1450 BCE, but Knossos itself was destroyed perhaps a century later. Between 1935 and 1939, Greek archaeologist Spyridon Marinatos posited that the eruption of Thera (the present-day island of Santorini) caused the destruction of the Minoan empire. One of the largest volcanic explosions in recorded history, it devastated the nearby Minoan settlement at Akrotiri on Santorini, though the extent of its effects on the Minoan culture of Crete has been debated.
The actual fall of the Minoan Empire was probably a fatal mix of natural environmental damage and competition for wealth weakening the structure of society, which was then exploited by invading Mycenaeans. Whatever the cause, most of the Minoan sites were abandoned by 1200 BCE and Crete would not return to the Mediterranean stage of history until the 8th century BCE when it was colonized by Archaic Greeks.
Is it possible to tell a story from a thousand years ago using the latest technology? Is it possible to combine something purely timeless with something utterly pioneering? The answer to the above questions is undoubtedly a resounding “yes”, and sums up our vision for the MINOANS Project.
We created a theme ride that will enable visitors to experience the most important mythological and historical events of Crete.
The birth of Zeus and the abduction of Europa, a "flight" inside the Palace of Knossos, the blooming of the Minoan civilization, a confrontation with the monstrous Minotaur and the destruction of the Minoan city of Knossos are some of the amazing events that visitors will view and experience.