Knossos was the chief city of Minoan Crete, near present-day Iráklion or Heraklion, now the capital of the Greek island. The archaelogical site was excavated by Arthur Evans between 1899 and around 1935 (sources differ). Dating from about 2000 BC, it included the palace throne room and a labyrinth: the mythical, legendary home of the Minotaur, a half man, half bull creature.
Excavation of King Minos' palace showed that the story of Theseus' encounter with the Minotaur in the labyrinth was possibly derived from the ritual 'bull-leaping' by young people, as depicted in the palace frescoes. Certainly the idea was stimulated by the mazelike layout of the palace.
Constructed in stages over various times (from the 17th century BC onwards), the palace was a huge, multi-storeyed, rambling structure that can still confound visitors.
"This palace, the largest known in Crete, with an area of 22,000 sq. metres (26,000 sq. yards), was excavated by A. Evans between 1899 and 1932, and spectacularly restored, sometimes excessively. It occupies the summit of a small hill, and to the east it dominates a ravine on to which the royal apartments look out, with their large megaron on the Minoan plan—open on two sides, reached by a large staircase. The three main entrances are to the north, the west and the south. The western wing was occupied by extensive storerooms and by official apartments—audience and reception halls, sanctuary; a large staircase leads to state rooms"
John Julius Norwich, The World Atlas of Architecture