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Greece, Crete – Island of Landmarks, Mountains, and the Sea VIII

Published: 9.5.2016
The last day before leaving Crete by plane we did want to spend in Heraklion. Most of all at the most famous Minoan palace of Knossos. At around 8 o’clock in the morning we left the camp of Sissi. About one hour later we were in front of our hotel. We parked the car and went for Knossos right away. This largest tourist attraction on Crete is only 5 kilometers to the south from Heraklion. Buses depart every twenty minutes for the palace and you pay 3 euro per ticket.

It is most probable that the palace was the main residence of the Minoan emperor – Minos. The legend has hit that his wife Pasiphae was seduced by a white bull and then gave birth to hideous son who was half man half bull - Minotaur. The king built a labyrinth for him. The labyrinth is allegedly Knossos. Eventually, Greek hero Theseus killed Minotaur and got out thanks to golden tangled ball gifted by princess Ariadne.

 Knossos

The first palace was built around second millennium BC. In the consequent 300 hundred years it underwent several reconstructions. What we can see today is what remained from the second palace built atop the first one destroyed around the year 1700 BCE. Until 1450 BCE, the year when the Minoan civilization was wiped out spread. The first person who started archeological excavations was Minos Kalokairinos, a Cretan merchant and antique dealer excavated a section from the storage area in 1878. Sir Arthur Evans continued in his works from the year 1900. With his co workers he unraveled a substantial part of the palace.

 Knossos  Knossos

The vastness of the compound is what catches our interest. And also the height of unroofed buildings. Unlike other Minoan palaces here you don’t get the impression that the walls were higher than one meter. Evans rebuilt significant part of the palace and mostly from not original material. Altogether, the palace gives you very believable impression. Moreover, it was better than any other palace we have seen on Crete.

 Knossos  Knossos

In the afternoon, we planned to see the Archeological Museum holding the rarest collection on Minoan art in the world. Findings from all excavations of all important Minoan palaces on Crete . Moreover, there are all kind of works of art, jewelry, statues, figurines, vases, clay tables etc. In case you plan to see the museum and Knossos than you should know that you can buy a combined ticket for 10 euro. It is good to see the museum either early in the morning or late in the evening. There are tons of tourists in the museum throughout the day. The collection is vast. I recommend you at least three hours for a tour. The only con is that you cant take pictures in the museum.

 Knossos  Knossos palác Knóssos

With the tour at the museum our week long journey across Crete ended. On the next day’s morning we would travel back home. Overall, I am very positive about our trip. Beautiful nature, sea and landmarks in this combination is hard to see anywhere in the world. In my opinion, the Cretans are very tourist friendly and kind. You get this feeling mostly at small villages. There you would feel like travelling couple of decades into the past, the time when other values were regarded by the society.

GPS: 35°17'53.2"N 25°09'47.3"E

Text and photos: Vojtěch Bližňák



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