» Greece, Crete – Island of Landmarks, Mountains, and the Sea VIII
Greece, Crete – Island of Landmarks, Mountains, and the Sea VIII
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Wondering if you will end up heading out to sea? Would you like to fly to Crete? This island is so famous that we will not talk about it now. But while you're here, we know of a great day trip. That you don't want to walk around the sights in the awful heat? Be calm, this trip will absolutely captivate you. We set off to Chrissi Island.
Cosmopolitan Mykonos is an island in the Greek Cyclades archipelago in the Mediterranean. The world is known as the island of celebrities, creams and nightlife. Recently, however, it has come to the forefront of popularity and Czech travel agencies are beginning to offer it in their catalogs.
The island of Mykonos is not big, it has an area of only about 100 km². And so the ideal way to travel the whole island is to rent a scooter, motorbike or quad bike. In addition to a varied nightlife, Mykonos is famous for its rugged coastline with beautiful beaches and a very pleasant climate. Today we will go to explore some of its most famous beaches.
Santorini (Thira in Greek language) is a relatively small part of the Cyclades archipelago, with a width of only 6 km and a length of just over 25 km. Its area, however, strongly balances the geographical and geological location of the island and its rich history. Situated 220 km from Athens and 110 km from Crete, Thira has always been an important and often necessary stop on the route between these major shopping centers. As a result, traces of the largest Minoan settlement outside Crete have been preserved on the island.
The title suggests that Crete is island of several great tourist attractions. People who love culture, those who love history and nature or just laying on a beach will all enjoy a stay here. The history of Crete is, however, very colorful. Therefore, it would be a pity to spend your vacation just being lazy on a beach.
A delegate of the company we rented our car from had been already waiting for us once we arrived at the airport. It was apparent that there is some fierce competition among car rental companies. The way how they treat their customers is the consequence of the fierce competition. Once we had settled all documents we needed we get in our car and drove to the west. There are no official freeways so you don’t pay any toll.
We woke up to nice and shinny day. Nobody was on the beach we went to so we just laid around. I recommend you Camp Mithimna, the camp we stayed at. Its owner was very kind and helpful. After a short talk with him we left for Balos, the beach in the northwest on the Gramvousa peninsula.
The longest European gorge of Samaria was another point of interest. The Samaria is located in Crete’s western half. The gorge is in the middle of the White Mountains (in Greek Lefka Ori). The gorge became a national park in 1962 when the inhabitants of Samaria village was displaced. It was situated in the middle of the gorge. Also, the gorge is a world biosphere reserve.
On this day, we planned to make a short trip to the Lefka Ori mountains. Bad weather prevented us from going there. Therefore, we decided to travel to Moni Preveli monastery instead.
We left early in the morning the Agia Galini camp for Phaistos (Faistos) palais. It is considered the second most important Minoan palace (the first one is Knossos). The palace is situated on Kastri Hill which is in central area of the Mesara Plain. Up from there you can get beautiful vista of the Idi mountains.
The next day’s morning we woke up while it was still being dark. Because we spent the night at a cottage, we quickly packed our things. At 6 o’clock we were already heading to Kato Zakros, another important Minoan palace. Unfortunately, the weather was not good. It rained all day. Yet this was no thing that would make us to loose our spirits. At around 8 o’clock we reached our destination. The information in the book guide said it the opening hours start at 8. However, right there we found out it would be at 10. Two hours of additional time meant we made use of them and walked along the coastline.
After several articles on London we jump across Europe to the Mediterranean, actually to the east part of the sea. Today we will have a taste of sun after rains of London, and warm waters of the Sea of Crete.
Last week we have lured to you to our trip to Crete. This hilly island hides many things, no healthy tourist would miss that. Today we will take a look on one of the largest cities of Crete, Rethymno. First, we will talk about local cuisine. Next week will visit some landmarks.
After unveiling gourmet side of the Cretan city rise from the comfortable sitting in one of the local restaurants and we will explore the historical legacy left by several millennia of human habitation.
One of the most popular holiday resorts in recent years has been Greek island of Samos, the birthplace of famous Pythagoras. What reason stands behind large numbers of tourists coming there between June and first half of September? There are actually couple of them!
The city with cultural traditions, with known rhetorical school (attended by Cicero and Caesar) and the famous sculptural school. Ever since its foundation (408 BC) the capital of the island is Rhodos, lies in whose northern tip.
From Old town with medieval buildings and watchtowers we head into the New Town district, where you can also find monuments from different periods, which was together with historical centre right declared by UNESCO as world natural and cultural attractions.
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