Knossos, the heart of the Minoan civilization, lies 5 km southeast of Heraklion, in the valley of the river Kairatos. Crete’s most famous historical attraction, he site is considered to be the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on the island and is referred to as the oldest city in Europe. Knossos was first inhabited by a Neolithic settlement in the seventh century BC. It stayed inhabited for several thousands of years until it was finally abandoned in 1375 BC after its destruction, which marked the end of Minoan civilisation. In 1878, the first large-scale excavation was undertaken by the wealthy art-lover Minos Kalokairinos, while Crete was still under Turkish occupation. This was followed by the long-term excavations (1900-1913 and 1922-1930) of Sir Arthur Evans, who uncovered the whole surrounding area of Knossos.