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The ruins at Knossos.

Knossos (NOSS-us). An ancient palace or religious center on the island of Crete, near modern Iraklion. The island of Crete was the site of the earliest high civilization in Europe. For two thousand years there flourished a culture called Minoan, after legendary King Minos. This civilization was characterized by unique artwork and architecture, notably the imposing complex of buildings at Knossos.