Middle Minoan period (XXII - XVIII centuries BC)
During this period, wheat is already sown in Crete, saffron is grown, which is used as a spicy seasoning and as a dye. Horticulture and viticulture are developing; small cattle are bred, mainly sheep and goats.
The pottery wheel is widely used in the craft, bronze casting is developing, jewelry production reaches a high level: beautiful jewelry in the form of golden flowers and insects are created, enamel techniques are used. The construction business is being improved: large structures are being built in Knossos, Mallia and Festus, according to which the Middle Minoan period is designated as the "period of old palaces". These structures can hardly be called palaces in the proper sense of the word, since they were not royal residences and could serve as sanctuaries of the main Cretan gods.
The "palaces" were the centers around which, as well as around the temples in the East, the economic life of the island's population was concentrated. The palace in Knossos, which was most fully excavated, was a rectangular structure in plan with a courtyard of the same shape, on the sides of which there were living quarters with light wells and construction towers. In the "palace" there was a sewerage system, which additionally testified to its well-being.An interesting feature of the Crete of this time is the complete absence of traces of hostilities. The settlements, despite their massiveness, were not specially fortified. This is due either to the Cretans' awareness of their own naval strength, which did not need additional defensive structures, or, less likely, to the amazing peacefulness of the island's inhabitants against the background of universal world wars.
Crete mainly carried out external relations with Asia Minor and Egypt. In Asia Minor, the Cretans traded with the population of the famous Troy and the Hittites, and in the Eastern Mediterranean - with Cyprus and the Syrian kingdoms, through which items from Babylon came to Crete. Trade relations with Egypt were very developed: wood, painted dishes and other things were imported from Crete to Egypt, where the 12th dynasty ruled (XIX-XVIII centuries BC). The Pharaohs sent ambassadors to Crete and had their permanent representation on the island.