The Minoan civilization in Crete attained a high level of social and economic organization, as well as artistic creations. It owes its name to the mythical King Minos of Knossos.
It was the Bronze Age Aegean civilization of Crete and the other Aegean islands, flourishing from c. 2700 to c. 1450 BC until a late period of decline, finally ending around 1100 BC. The reasons for the slow decline of the Minoan civilization, beginning around 1550 BC, are unclear; theories include Mycenaean invasions from mainland Greece and the major volcanic eruption of Santorini.
It represents the first advanced civilization in Europe, leaving a legacy of massive building complexes, tools, stunning artwork, Linear A writing system, and a massive trade network.
The Minoan civilization is particularly notable for its large and elaborate palaces up to four stories high, featuring complex plumbing systems, and decorated with frescoes. The most notable Minoan palace is that of Knossos, followed by that of Phaistos.