Palace of Knossos – Guide for 2024 (Updated)

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Palace of Knossos Guide to the Minoan Palace

The Palace of Knossos, this archaeological site, located 6 kilometers south of the sea on Crete’s north central coast.



How to visit Knossos like an expert!

Here are some tips for visiting Knossos like an expert:

  1. Plan ahead: Research the history and significance of Knossos before your visit. Understanding the context of the site will enhance your understanding and appreciation of the ruins.
  2. Take a guided tour: A guided tour is an excellent way to learn more about the site, its history, and its significance. Many tour operators offer guided tours in English and other languages, and it’s a great opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the site.
  3. Arrive early: Try to arrive at the site as early as possible to beat the crowds and avoid the heat of the day. This will also give you more time to explore the site at a leisurely pace.
  4. Wear comfortable shoes: Knossos is a large site with uneven surfaces, so wear comfortable shoes that provide good support and traction.
  5. Bring water: The site can be quite hot during the summer months, so make sure to bring plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated.
  6. Take your time: Knossos is a large site with many areas to explore, so take your time and enjoy the experience. Don’t feel rushed to see everything in one go, take a break if you need it.
  7. Visit the museum: The Knossos archaeological museum is also worth visiting, it houses many artifacts from the site and provides a great introduction to the history and culture of Minoan civilization.
  8. Take plenty of pictures: Knossos is a beautiful and historic site, so don’t forget to take plenty of pictures to remember your visit.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to make the most of your visit and gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the site.

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Should I go to Knossos on a guided day trip?

Everywhere you go, you’ll be able to discover organized day trips to Knossos. The price of them might vary greatly. The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, for example, may be included in some of the packages. Make sure your trip includes a certified tourist guide before booking. From your hotel, they’ll transport you back to your lodgings at the end of the day. The drawbacks of these types of excursions include lengthy waits for pick-up and drop-off, exhausting multilingual tours, and too crowded tours.


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Will you allow me to come on my own?

You can, of course. Innumerable alternatives exist. Pre-booking a guide and meeting there, joining a guided tour at the entry, or buying a book and trying to be your own guide are all options for those who want to explore on their own terms. Your own chauffeur and guide may be hired for a more personalized experience.




How will I get there?

Heraklion is simply a short drive away from Knossos. You may easily get there on your own because to its well-marked location. In the event that you arrange a guided tour, the transportation is included in the price.


Knossos may be reached via bus.

You may go to Knossos by cab or by taking the No2 public bus from Heraklion city center. The public bus service, which operates regularly and cheaply throughout the city, takes roughly 30 – 45 minutes to get you there. Easy-peasy! The bus runs 3 to 5 times per hour. Its final stop is Knossos. For 2022, the fee is 1 – 2 € one-way.



Which time is the greatest for a visit to Knossos?

After 9 a.m., the place might be rather crowded. If you’re a morning person, go there when it first opens, or go later in the day when it’s less crowded and cooler.


Are there any online ticket sales?

No, you can’t, and the early lineups may be overwhelming. Full: €15, Reduced: €8. Admission is free for minors and EU students under the age of 18 and for EU citizens over the age of 65.




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If you’ve never heard of the Palace of Knossos, you’re gonna be so damn jealous when you watch this video.
Let me get you up to date on Palace of Knossos the new mass tourist destination in Crete.

Is significant for various reasons, including its enormous antiquity (it is 9,000 years old), many diverse cultural strata (Neolithic to Byzantine), size (almost 10 square kilometers)

And popularity (the second most visited archaeological site in Greece after the Acropolis at Athens).


Full-Day Knossos And Heraklion Tour GetYourGuide CLICK HERE <-


There aren’t many places like the palace of Knossos in the world.

Aside from these, though, the pallace of Knossos is notable for its significance in the writing of history.


It is the model site for all Minoan archaeology, one of Europe’s earliest large-scale scientific excavations, and home to some of the most disputed restorations in the ancient Mediterranean.


As a result of all of this, palace of knossos is an important aspect of numerous discourses in ancient history and historiography. We can’t get enough of Knossos. A palatial residence?



The palace of Knossos the Bronze age

The Bronze Age Knossos is commonly referred to as a palace, a term coined by its most famous digger, Sir Arthur Evans.

Indeed, Evans believed he had uncovered the throne of Minos and the monarchs of Crete when he discovered a grandly tiled and painted room with a massive stone chair set in the wall just three weeks after commencing his work at the site.



This royal version of palace of knossos remained.

Despite the fact that it is now obvious that Knossos’ significance was as least as religious and economic as it was political, it is still referred to as a palace.


Palace of Knossos from the beginning

Knossos was one of the first Neolithic sites in the Mediterranean, dating back to roughly 7000 B.C.E., and was established at a time when pottery had yet to be produced.


It remained a densely occupied location throughout the Neolithic centuries, essentially built on top of one of the Aegean’s few tell sites, over 100 meters above sea level.


Unfortunately, nothing is known about Neolithic Knossos because its ruins were completely covered over by Bronze Age people.


However, limited digs reveal that it was one of Europe’s oldest farming villages, with links to far earlier Mesolithic populations elsewhere on the island. Prior to the palace



The early Bronze Age begins at Knossos near the end of the fourth millennium B.C.E.

When the inhabitants learned how to mix tin and copper to manufacture bronze tools and weapons that were significantly more durable than their stone predecessors.

Although the palace structure has yet to be built, the structures on the site already have a north-south orientation, as will the palace.

Furthermore, it appears that ceremonial activity was already prevalent at the time, as demonstrated by the abundance of specially crafted and ornamented drinking cups.

The earliest large-scale buildings were built at Knossos around the end of the third millennium B.C.E., around 1,000 years later.

The form and design of these structures are difficult to determine because the later palace obscures them greatly, although the outline of the vast (49 x 27m) rectangular open center court is already defined. Knossos’ Protopalatial or Old Palace

Approximately two hundred years later, at the beginning of the second millennium (approximately 1950–1800 B.C.E. ), the outline and dimensions of Knossos’ palace emerge, kicking off what is known as the Protopalatial or Old Palace period.


Palace of Knossos


The tall, massive, carved ashlar stone of the palace’s west façade and the central court, now squared off in the corners and paved, are the two most distinguishing elements of this oldest iteration of Knossos.

This court served as a large performance venue.

During this time, Evans constructs the Royal Road, a broad paved road. The road connects Knossos with the neighboring town to the west.

At the same time, a raised walkway entrance system is constructed. Storage was clearly an important component of Protopalatial Knossos, as it is in current ancient Near Eastern temples. Long, thin storage rooms are constructed to the west of the central court during this period.

Furthermore, massive, deep, circular holes walled with plastered stone, known as Kouloures, were sunk into the open court to the west of the palace and are thought to have held grain, according to archaeologists.

Protopalatial Knossos not only kept raw materials, but it also manufactured finished things.


Palace of Knossos


There is evidence of seal stone cutting, weaving, pottery production (particularly Kamares Ware), and maybe gold works. In this busy place, a written script, Cretan Hieroglyphic, was employed to keep records, which were written on clay tablets and nodules fastened to cargo containers.

The language in which this script was recorded has not yet been translated. Knossos’ Neopalatial or New Palace

Around 1700 B.C.E., substantial improvements are carried out at Knossos, most likely as a result of a destructive event, such as an earthquake.

The beginning of the Neopalatial or New Palace period is marked by these renovations, which result in the most distinctive elements of Knossos:

the West Court is paved (made by filling in the Protopalatial Kouloures) to be used for public ceremonies, and the monumental south entrance (or South Propylaeum) is added to impress visitors.

The palace of Knossos and the throne room

With its lustral basin, or light well, the Throne Room can easily host the palace’s officials, while the East Wing or Domestic Quarter, where Evans thought the queen of Knosoe spent her time, is erected.

Colonnade stairs, light wells, pier and door barriers, and paintings on the walls and floors were some of the distinctive architectural features of these new sections.


Palace of Knossos


Throughout this time, art thrived at Knossos. The Blue Monkey and Partridge Frieze paintings, as well as the Grandstand Fresco, which seems to depict group performances in the West Court, were among the breathtaking natural world scenes on display.


It was renovated in the Neopalatial era and decorated with a relief wall mural of a raging bull, which became associated with Knossos and Minoan Crete..


The exquisite marine design, which some archaeologists think reflects a Minoan thalassocracy, marks a new high point in pottery manufacture (sea power).


Cretan Hieroglyphic and Linear A are both used throughout the Neopalatial era in order to communicate with one other.


It is clear that this script was used for accounting and administration, monitoring the movement of goods and people between the palace and other locations on the island.

As a result, it also shows how a number of minor monuments, which are also known as “palaces,” are shown in the film.


At the time, Crete’s major cities (Malia, Phaistos, Zakros, Monastiraki, Petras, Chania, and Galatas) served as the center of the island’s population and labor.


Not only did this expansive network unite Cretan villages, but it also maintained economic links with the Eastern Mediterranean via its links with other Mediterranean nations. After or near the end of the palace of Knossos


Palace of Knossos


At the same time as Minoan monuments across Crete were being demolished and abandoned about 1450 BC, there are signs that the palace was destroyed.

Postpalatial or Final Palatial era begins with these events, which endure around 150 years.

Reconstruction begins after these events, although in a different manner.


Even though the palace’s façade was not carved with any more lavishly decorated limestone, new inside walls were built to disrupt the flow of movement, apparently in order to seal off certain areas, such as the West magazines (storage rooms), probably for security reasons.


Of primary importance in these reconstructions were changes made to the Throne Room for the griffins and, maybe, an actual throne to be placed there.


Known as Europe’s oldest city, the Bronze Age site of Knossos (also known as Cnossos) is the biggest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete.


Early Neolithic settlements in Crete were referred to by the ancient Greeks as Knossos, a name that persists to this day. For a while, the Minoan society relied on Knossos Palace as its ceremonial and political nerve center.


The Late Bronze Age palace was abandoned at some point between 1380 and 1100 BC.

A common theory is that one of the numerous tragedies that befell the palace is to blame.


An metropolitan area of up to 18,000 people existed in the first palace era approximately 2000 BC.

Around the year 1700 BC, the palace and the surrounding city had a population of 100,000.



Cnossus, Cnossos, and Knossus, Gnossus, and Gnossos were all Latinized forms of the Greek name Knossos. However, Knossos is now nearly always spelled that way.

Palace of Knossos and Neolithic period

The first Neolithic village at Knossos was established about 7000 BC, and the site has been home to humans ever since.

Palace of Knossos


Neolithic remains are prolific in Crete.

They may be found in caves, rock shelters, homes, and towns, as well as on the ground. Before the Palace Period, there was a long history of human occupation in Knossos, as shown by the presence of a substantial Neolithic stratum. The first one was built on solid rock.


In recent times, Arthur Evans, who discovered the palace of Knossos, believed that a Neolithic tribe arrived at the hill about 8000 BC.


First of a series of wattle and daub communities (current radiocarbon dates elevate the estimate to 7000–6500 BC) probably arrived by boat from abroad.

Spools and whorls made of clay and stone have been found all throughout the region.


Colored stone axe and mace heads are available.

jadeite, greenstone, serpentine, diorite and serpentine, together with obsidian knives and arrowhead cores.


There were several animal and human figures, many of which were nudists with too prominent breasts and buttocks, but they were the most notable.

It was Evans’ belief that figurines in general and the adoration of the Neolithic mother goddess were a part of religious practice.


Further archaeological excavations were carried out by the archaeologist John Davies Evans (no connection to Arthur Evans), who focused on the Neolithic period.


Palace of Knossos


An Aceramic Neolithic village of 25 to 50 people flourished at the site of the Central Court between 7000 and 6000 BC.

In the case of a catastrophe, they would bury their children beneath the floor of their wattle and daub dwellings. They also kept animals and harvested vegetables there.


A hamlet was made up of a number of closely knit households, all of which practiced some type of exogamy and lived in close quarters with one other, resulting in a high level of closeness and intimacy.


Outsiders who spend the most of their time in the open air and only seek refuge when it’s raining or sleety outside.


A clay bowl with fork handles. Early Neolithic period, 6500-5800 BC, Knossos. Ladle and a three-legged vessel from subsequent eras are also included in this set

200–600 people lived in the Early Neolithic settlement that included the palace’s north and west slopes 6000–5000 years ago.


Socles of field stone or reclaimed stone were used to support the mudbrick walls of their one- or two-room homes.

The walls were plastered with mud. The roofs were made of mud and branches piled on top of one other. They carved out hearths at different points in the middle of the chamber for their occupants to use.


One home beneath the West Court in this town was exceptional in that it comprised eight rooms and covered 50 m2 (540 sq ft).


The walls were all at right angles. The door was in the exact middle of the room. Large stones were employed as pillars of support in areas of increased strain. The absence of separate sleeping quarters implies the existence of some kind of storage facility.


Between 5000 and 4000 B.C., 500–1000 individuals lived in increasingly spacious and likely family-private dwellings in the Middle Neolithic settlements.


The only difference was that the windows and doors were timbered, the main room had a fixed, raised fireplace, and pilasters and other elevated objects (cabinets, beds) dominated the perimeter.

Under the palace was the Great Structure, a stone house that was split into five rooms with high walls indicating that a second storey was there, measuring 100 square meters (1,100 square feet) in space.


House, which is unlikely to be a private apartment like the others, suggesting a communal or public usage; i.e., it may have been the precursor of a palace.

A major rise in population occurred between 4000 and 3000 years ago in the Late or Final Neolithic (two separate but overlapping categorization systems).



Palace of Knossos – Minoan period

Palace of Knossos – Legends

Ariadne, the king’s daughter, had a crush on Theseus. Before, Ariadne had given him a ball of thread. He would unwind it in the Labyrinth to find his way back.

Palace of Knossos – Hellenistic and Roman period

In 2015, new discoveries showed that Knossos was a much bigger settlement in the early Iron Age than previously thought.

Archaeologists had previously assumed that the city had deteriorated after a socio-political breakdown about 1200 BC, but the investigation discovered that the city flourished instead, with its eventual abandonment occurring later.


Around 1000 BC, people repopulated it. It was one of Crete’s most important settlements after the Minoans fell.

Amnisos and Heraklion were the two main ports of the city. The Knossians took over Brundisium in Italy from the Greeks. This is according to the Greek geographer Strabo. [29]

During Philip II of Macedon’s reign in 343 BC, Knossos allied with him.

Phalaikos was a Phocian mercenary. The city of Lyttus hired him to fight their archenemies.

The Spartans dispatched their king Archidamus III. They did so because the Lyttians asked.

The Chremonidean War (267–261 BC) caused this. It kept the Ptolemies from uniting the warring city-states of Knoso.

The Polyrrhenians and King Philip V of Macedon formed a coalition. They aimed to stop the growth of Knossos in the 3rd century BC. But, Knossos beat the coalition in the Lyttian War in 220 BC.

During the Cretan War (205–200 BC), the Knossians opposed Philip again. But, this time they got help from the Romans and the Rhodians. They were trying to free Crete.

In 67 BC, the Roman Senate picked Gortys as the capital of the new province Creta et Cyrene. This restored Knossus to its former place as the first city of Crete.

Around 36 BC, people established Colonia Iulia Nobilis at Knossos.

Archaeologists have only uncovered a small part of the colony near the Palace. The Romans constructed it in their own style.

The pre-excavation site scatters Roman coins in the fields. They are near a massive mound called Kephala Hill. The hill is 85 m (279 ft) high from the present sea level. The coins confirm the association of Knossos with the Bronze Age site.

As a result, a Minotaur or Labyrinth was often depicted on the back of several of them.

Colonia Julia Nobilis Cnossus was a Roman colony. Just north of Kephala, it included the situated area. It was the source of the coins. The Romans settled Knossos, so they thought.

Heraklion became a titular see in Christian times. But, by the 9th century AD, the population had moved to Chandax (now Heraklion).

The bishops of Gortyn called themselves “Bishop of Knossos” until the 19th century. Then, the city was no longer called Makruteikhos “Long Wall.”

Archaeological site in the developing suburbs of Heraklion currently bears the name.


Palace of Knossos – Discovery and modern history of the antiquities

Palace of Knossos – Palace complex

The era in which it was built influenced the palace. The current appearance is the result of a slow accumulation of traits. The most recent traits are the most prominent.

When shown now, the palace was never what it was back then. The artefact was also updated with new materials.

They started the tradition in an attempt to protect the place from deterioration and the severe rain of winter.

After 1922, Arthur Evans, the company’s chief executive, planned to build a replica. Based on archaeological findings, it would be.

Perhaps not even close. But, based on the time and attention and comparisons to other palaces, it seems to be a decent imitation.

People have a wide variety of views on Arthur Evans’ final judgments on the palace. These views range from the most suspicious to the most credulous.

There is a wide range of views in the middle.


Palace of Knossos – Location 

From the northwest corner, this is the view to the east. You can see the west wall of the Lustral Basin in the foreground.

This is a view of the southern hemisphere. Gypsades is the name of the hill in the backdrop. The Vlychia separates it from Knossos. A left turn leads to the South Entrance.

Palace of Knossos reception courtyard. This is where the Royal family would host visitors. Platforms with tiered seating were set up in the backdrop.

The titles “Knossos” and “palace” are problematic from an archaeological perspective.

It had chambers that may have suited a royal family. But, it was never only a monarch’s house.

Unfortunately, most of the intended civic, religious, and economic hubs did not work as buildings.

The more precise phrase is palace complex. Kephala Hill was the centrepiece of the ancient city of Knossos.

An acropolis in the Greek sense was never built on this hill, and it was never used as such. It could not be a stronghold. This is due to its low height and lack of defences.

Other Minoan palaces may not have been subject to the same conditions.

They built a fortified city on top of a high slope. It was contemporary with Knossos. The city was to control the entrance to the Mesara Plain from the sea.


Whether the Minoan civilisation was warlike or not is still a matter of debate.

No matter how long ago the Mycenaean Greeks came to rule, it is safe to say that the city of Knossos had nothing in common with any other Mycenaean stronghold in the area.


There is an elevated Central Court at the summit of Kephala Hill.

They demolished old structures and lowered the roof to make room for the court. The court is rectangular. It has a long axis that points north.”

They erected the complex around an elevated Central Court on Kephala Hill.

To make way for the court, they lowered the roof. In general, people see the court as “pointing north”. This is due to its rectangular shape and long north-northeast axis.

With the north on top, plot plans show the court as a horizontal axis. The long axis seems to be east-west.

Unless indicated, it is difficult to tell where the compass points. The palace complex sits around 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) north of the port of Heraklion.

The Vlychia Stream is a tributary of the Kairatos River. It flows east-west and is to the south. The confluence’s lone hill, Kephala Hill.

The Kairatos River empties into the Mediterranean Sea. It is to the east of Heraklion Port and Heraklion Airport.

According to Pendlebury, when it reached Knossos, it became the main drain for up to 100,000 people.


The population drains much river water and the water table for farming as it shifts north. But, the sewer function continues.

Atop Gypsades Hill, it looms above the right bank of the Vlychia across from Knossos. The Minoans mined their gypsum there. They mined limestone east of the ridge.

They found the palace complex and many old surrounding dwellings with the palace. People know the palace as Knossos.

You can locate the Caravanserai to the south, across the Vlychia River.

You may discover the Minoan ruins further south. On an old Minoan bridge, the Stepped Portico, or covered steps, led into the royal complex.

Northwest of the complex, you’ll find the remnants of the House of Frescoes.

The Minoan Road enters from the northwest and locates the Arsenal.

On the north side of the palace, you can find the Customs House and the Northeast House.

Makrotoichos is currently located to the northeast. It sits between the Royal Villa and the royal complex. There’s a little palace on the other side of town on the western side.

Last remnant of Minoan route connecting port to palace complex is Royal Road. A new road has replaced the old Leoforos Knosou, and it now serves the same purpose and continues south.

The site includes the unearthed ancient Royal Road. The Little Palace partially covers the intersection of the old and contemporary roadways.

Evans erected Villa Ariadne, a home away from home and administrative headquarters, just to the northwest of there, off the present highway.


The ruins are clearly visible from the villa’s hilltop location. Pre-excavation building, Taverna, has been restored multiple times to serve as the Keeper’s residence.

To the south of the villa, on the site of the former Little Palace, is the square Stratigraphical Museum.


Excavation is still taking place on the property. There is a contemporary village to the south of the museum, across from the west court’s entrance.

To the north, on Leoforos Knosou, there are parking facilities.

A thin swath of farmland lies to the northwest of Heraklion’s royal complex, separating it from the city streets. This valley is situated between the north-south mountain ranges that shield the east and west.


General features

The archaeologists put a gigantic pithoi in Magazine 4 for show.

There were pithoi (storage jars) like this in the floor compartments that held wet and dry foodstuffs, such wine and oil. It was impossible to move them when they were full.

Because they were buried, it was much simpler to help them.

In the aftermath of natural disasters, the grand palace was rebuilt.


The Kephala hill has already been home to a number of structures.


During the late Minoan era, the most notable features are present.

The palace’s interesting architecture is no longer visible because of subsequent renovations.

There are 1,300 rooms, but just a few large passageways connect them.


The palace’s 24,000 square meters (6 acres) had a huge theater, four primary entrances on each of the palace’s cardinal sides, and various storerooms (also called magazines).

The storage included pithos (large clay jars) full of oil, grains, dried fish, beans, and olives.

The palace’s processing facilities included grain mills, oil presses, and wine presses.

The pithoi’s stone tunnels stored gold and other treasures.

The palace permitted five-story buildings in certain areas.


Water management

Supply, drainage of runoff, and waste water drainage were all handled by different systems in the palace.

Archanes springs, approximately 10 kilometers distant, provided fresh water for Kephala hill through aqueducts.

The Kairatos River flows through the valley where Kephala is located thanks to several springs. The aqueduct provided access to both the palace and the town.


Gravity fed water via clay pipes to fountains and spigots throughout the palace.

One end of the pipes had a tapered end for a pressure fit. There have been no more discoveries of similar springs, as was the case with Mycenae.


A closed drainage system led to a separate sewer on the other side of the hill.

The megaron of the queen included a first-generation water-flushing system latrine. Flushing this toilet required pouring water down a drain using a jug as a seat.

There must have been someone filling and draining the next bathroom’s bathtub by dumping it into a floor drain or by bailing it out.

The 1,300-room complex’s toilet and bathtub were unique examples.

A drainage system was necessary since the hill was often flooded by strong rainfall.

Channels were zigzag and had catchment basins to limit water flow on the flat surfaces. The top system may have been open.

Workers excavated manholes to get access to locations that were otherwise inaccessible.


The Minoan civilisation

About 3500 BC, the island of Crete and its neighboring Aegean islands developed a Bronze Age Aegean culture known as the Minoans.

During the early Greek Dark Ages, a highly developed urban culture arose about the year 2000 BC and declined steadily from 1450 BC until it came to an end around the year 1100 BC.

First advanced civilization in Europe, it left behind large building complexes, advanced art and writing systems..

Trade routes that across the whole Mediterranean were beneficial to its economic well-being.

At the start of the 20th century, British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans discovered the civilization.

Evans coined the title “Minoan” after the fabled King Minos, who identified the site of Knossos with the labyrinth and the Minotaur.

According to historian Will Durant, the Minoans were “the first link in the European chain” when it came to civilization.

It is common of the Minoan civilisation to have four-story buildings with complex plumbing systems and artwork.


Phaistos Palace

After the Phaistos Palace and before the Knossos Palace, there is a third option:

The palaces’ function in Minoan government and religion is largely unclear.



Trade between Crete and other Aegean and Mediterranean communities, particularly those in Egypt, was extensive throughout the Minoan period.

By way of merchants and artists, the Minoans’ cultural influence spread from Crete to the Cyclades and the Old Kingdom of Egypt as well as copper-bearing Cyprus, the Levantine coast, and Anatolia.

Despite the fact that the Minoan eruption severely devastated Akrotiri, the site nevertheless has some of the finest examples of Minoan art.


A language named Minoan was codified using Linear A writing and Cretan hieroglyphs.


Mycenaean invasions from mainland Greece and the huge volcanic eruption of Santorini are among the possible explanations for the slow decline of the Minoan civilisation that started about 1550 BC.

See also:

Master Castle List 234 Castles and counting




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