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Crete, Greece
Married to the lovely Geoffrey, my soulmate. I have two fantastic big kids,both married, whom I love and miss every day I'm not with them, but I know they're living and loving their lives and we make up for time when we get together.I now have three granddaughters too...

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

A Trip To Knossos.....

You may or may not remember, last November we had a visit from both my daughter Bethan and my son, Gareth.
After Bethan had returned to Saudi, Geoff, Gareth and I had a trip to Knossos on the outskirts of Iraklion.
Knossos is one of the archeoligical wonders of the world as, until the start of the last century, it was thought to have existed only in mythology but the Homeric tales of King Minos, his wife Pasiphae, the Labyrinth and the Minotaur all came to life as Arthur Evans, in the early 1900's slowly uncovered this massive site.
There was habitation there for over 8 thousand years. The first palace, built 4 thousand years ago, was destroyed and then rebuilt on an even grander scale.At the height of this second period,the palace consisted of more than a thousand rooms on 5 floors. A whole town existed around it and it controlled an empire covering the whole Mediterranean linking the continents of Asia, Africa and Europe.
The Minoans were the first great civilisation of the Mediterranean Basin, they were extremely artistic and peaceable prefering to cooperate and trade rather than use military might. They traded near and far using the produce of Crete- olive oil, wine, timber, grain and imported gold, silver and gems which were used to create the wonderful artefacts that have been unearthed.
To put it in perspective, Tutankhamun, ruled Egypt, as this great palace was in decline.
Below, are some small examples of the frescoes found during excavation. The originals are to be seen in Iraklion Archeological Museum.
Contention has always dogged this site regarding Arthur Evans's reconstruction of parts of this palace. (see below)
The detractors claim that nobody knows what the palace originally looked like and of course, this sort of reconstruction would not be permitted nowadays.
In Arthur Evans's defence,many of the walls were timber-framed and as excavation proceeded these walls collapsed due to the rotten wood, therefore if nothing had been done, there would be even less to look at today. He claimed he was 'preserving' rather than rebuilding.


The above photo is a reconstructed area, if it had not been rebuilt we would never have any idea of what may have been there. Personally, I don't mind it!!
We were very lucky to be able to go out of season and the site was nearly empty of tourists but I can imagine at the height of summer it might be rather different with thousands of people there every day.
It has a lovely open air cafe and a good museum shop.
I also noticed some shady picnic areas which would be much-needed in the summer.

22 comments:

Peter M said...

Although kinda' touristy, I don't think a trip to Crete would be complete without a visit to Knossos. Thanks for sharing.

Menopausal musing said...

Sigh........ that took me back. On our two week stay in Crete years ago, we stayed in a house in a small village outside Iraklion. It was owned by one of the Museum's curators. We visited Knossos and yes, it was a mix of real and reconstructed, sometimes not done as well as you would hope, but nevertheless it was part of the Crete experience and I wouldn't have missed it. I loved the big pots. Wonderful.

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

Thanks for the interesting historical tour Jude, very enjoyable. The frescoes are wonderful! Bye for now, Lesley

Mediterranean kiwi said...

this place is my favorite archaeological site in greece - i have never been more enthralled by any other (not even the acropolis) nor felt so complete, since it is a place you can wander around in and get to grips with the place entirely

Cait O'Connor said...

What amazing frescoes, thanks for posting all this info and pics. I have never been to Greece or Crete.

Lynn said...

Oh the art with those three ladies is just wonderful to behold.
You are an historian and I like reading most of the stories you have to tell...I like the art best...my DH would love your sharing of history and mythology so much. I must steer him to your blog.

bad penny said...

ooh I so want to go - thanks for showing

FeatherDuster said...

Interesting post today. Thanks for "taking" us there.

Cheryl said...

I didn't know that much about Knossos. I would absolutely love to visit one day. Great post Jude!! :)

Ivy said...

Lovely post Jude. I've visited Knossos a few times but I am always amazed by the great civilization they had.

Shropshire Suz said...

Some lovely inspirational colours!
Good luck with the Baktus experiments
love a fun and quick project lol
Hugs Suz x

Mim said...

now I'm really jealous, but some day I'll make it there. I also like the reconstruction along side the original, as long as it is kept to the minimum to enhance the site and is clearly noted.
lovely photos

Chris said...

How lucky you are to have so many ancient places to visit. The few we have her are are places in nature but even those are missing the ancient trees that once grew there.

Pondside said...

Blogging will have me bankrupt, as I want to go to all of these wonderful places. It's amazing to think that you live your everyday life in a place so saturated in history - lucky you...and lucky us that you shared.

St Ives Birds & Photo Journal said...

Fascinating Jude.
I was watching a programme the other night about how civilisation has built up around geological fault lines and Knossos was one of the places mentioned. I didn't realise Crete was near a fault line. Apparently Istanbul is for it next.
I've seen a White stork near Zennor. Are you seeing Common redstarts or Black redstarts? I was under the impression that Common redstarts migrated to Africa. Oh hang on you've probably got one of those other species like Moussiers redstart. Never going to see one of those in Britain. X

Judith said...

I just loved going to Knossos. The first time we went was years ago and we saw more then than we did the last time we went. Maybe all the visitors are having some sort of impact on the site. It is a great place to go, I'd recommend it to anyone.

Shropshire Suz said...

Hi Jude..look forward to the Baktus pics good luck
Hugs Suz x

Ms B. Thrift said...

Jude these are great places, i love how the Greeks preserve and protect their ancient archeology without having to sheild it all away from view, it's always accessible and interactive, you can touch it and walk along it like they did centuries ago, it's fantastic, we seem more stuffy and overprotective about it here. I love a similar site in Kos Town we have visited a few times now, always takes my breath away.

I have tagged you at my blog :)
Have a good week

John said...

Brings back memories Jude, Linz and me were there many years ago...we travelled with Student Travel......so a long time ago!!! I remember it as being very impressive then.

Clare Wassermann said...

wow you have inspired me even further to come to Crete = have you any hotel recommendations Jude?

syllah said...

Very beautyfull pace!

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