Knossos ~ Crete's Amazing Palace

Knossos Travel Blog

 › entry 24 of 38 › view all entries
Horns of a Bull: fertility and prosperity: it frequently was used at Knossos as decorative and symbolic value: these were about 10 feet tall

David and I left the  motel after a great breakfast in their upstairs area.   We walked to the bus line and quickly found the bus that would take us to Knossos.  We enjoyed the ride out.  When we arrived we found the Knossos area had a huge parking lot and an overflow lot.  Across the street were a series of small restaurants and souvenier shops.  We bought a cold water each and walked in.  We weren't hurrying... this was the only thing on our agenda for the day. 

But first to give you some background of the Knossos Minoan Palace.

Crete is a wonderful blend of legend and mythology.

sign showing where the museum pieces were found and their symbolic value: excellent signs
According to the Greeks Zeus was born on Mount Ida. He was fed a diet of honey and goat’s milk and tended by a group of nymphs. He was guarded by an army of youths from his father, Cronis. Cronis’ reign was threatened by Zeus’ existence. Zeus fathered a child, Minos who became the king of Knossos Crete and the rest of the Aegean. Minos, in turn, fathered a son, Androgeus.

Androgeus represented Crete in the Athenian games and won many events. The Athenian king was jealous and murdered Androgeus. When Minos found out he  sent his mighty Cretian fleet who defeated Athens. Athens was obligated to send seven young men and seven virgin women every nine year to be sacrificed to the Minotaur.

Pottery shard with stripes: I put it back exactly where & how I found it...
The Minotaur was in the center of a labyrinth.

The Athenian king’s son, Theseus volunteered to be sent to Crete. He told his father if he was successful in killing the Minotaur he would raise white sails instead of black ones as he returned home. Minos’ daughter fell in love with Theseus and assisted him in defeating the Minotaur. In returning home Theseus forgot to change the sails to white. The king of Athens saw the black sails and flung himself into the sea and died.

When the palace was excavated it was found to be in a confusing layout. It resembled a labyrinth. The large court yard branched out in rooms, corridors and storage areas that were purposely designed in a labyrinth pattern. 

Amateur Archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann (he discovered Troy and Mycenae) intended to excavate Knossos but died before he accomplished it.

one of the reconstructed buildings with a fresco
Arthur Evans took the project on and began digging in 1900. He found the remains of buildings spanning over an area of 8480 square feet. It covered five and a half acres. The original palace was built in approximately 2000 BC it was rebuilt and enlarged 300 years later after a massive earthquake. In 1500 BC it was rebuilt after a fire. The palace had drainage sumps, bathrooms, ventilation systems, ground water conduits and waste chutes. It had kitchens, residences, storerooms, workshops and ceremonial rooms. Truly amazing to find such modern things in an ancient palace.

There were amazing artifacts found in the excavations. Many of the artifacts were over 5,000 years old. Egyptian pottery from particular periods helped date artifacts. There were bronze statues and figurines. One room had a huge ornate vase jars that had contained oil.

Huge olive oil pots
It was estimated the amount of oil was over 19,000 gallons. Many of the walls had frescoes. The Minoan people were artists : they influenced the Greek world with their clear lines and bright colors. One of the most famous figures uncovered was a terra cotta figurine of a goddess in Faience style.  There was a second figurine that is possibly her daughter or a priestess

When we went to the museum in Heraklion Archaeological Museum many of the original frescoes were displayed.  They were reproduced at the Knossos palace where Evans thought they were.  He cemented in and rebuilt many of the buildings.  Instead of completing them he had them sort of broken off as though they had been broken in an earthquake.  There is much criticism from fellow archaeologists about his handling of the site.

pillars...
  The signs are almost derogatory about his placing of items and rebuilding.   We feel the site is famous because he dared to try to recreate it.   He rebuilt a throne room and painted the walls in the Minoan patterns.    Archaelogists felt that he had  ruined the site by building the Palace and painting it.... One comment was that it was impossible to undo what he had done with the concrete and paving.    

Knossos is the most visited place in Crete.   Crete has many sites that excavated and unimproved.  For David and I : We prefer the unimproved sites but we can see the benefit of having a site rebuilt too.  

OK.

frescos just off of the reception area
... back to us..... We wandered a short time then discovered we needed some kind of map.  We walked back to the entrance and requested a map.  I was going to buy post card but the lady tried to over charge me so I put them back.... The map helped on sorting out the grounds.   Between the map and the excellent signs we felt really happy with our day.

 A couple of areas were roped off.  In one I talked one of the construction workers into taking pictures of the forbidden area... he was hesitant and didn't want to but one of his buddies urged him then made him take a couple more pictures... I was really happy as I couldn't get to the area myself.   We were able to easily follow the map and understand the layout.  We saw where some of the artifacts were recovered from the signs at the site (made it interesting as we went to the museum first).

religous procession with offerings of food
 

We walked around the site covering the outer areas first to get a lay out..  We went by the Royal road (in the public area on the right side) and found some striped pottery and photographed it and put it back where we found it.  By the side fence we could hear music playing at a farm house and birds singing... it was really nice getting off the beaten path.  We sat for a while and drank our water and chatted. 

In the afternoon (after about 5 hours)  we were going to eat at the snackbar at the site but an older man who was at the gate urged us to cross the street and eat at the little place there.   A good call on that.... the food was excellent: and far cheaper than the snackbar food.  David had lamb and I had moussaka and we got a liter of beer.

bull leapers... these are girls...
The beer was refreshingly cold ....  plus: bonus = I did a little shopping too.   It was very easy to get back in although the same man was not at the gate.   We took the lunch scraps and fed the dogs and cats we had seen on the site.     Always risky with dogs as they follow you after you run out of food  and we always feel bad that we don't have more   :(    bummer....   

The palace of Knossos is stunning.... It has a huge throne room with recreated frescos on the walls.  Many of the rooms are recreated and frescoed.  The queens apartment contained the famous blue dolphins fresco.   The area contained two and three storied areas.  Besides the royal residences there were private residences, reception rooms, political halls,  a theater, shrines and porticoes.

Knossos
   There was a huge central courtyard.  There was no defensive walls which is indicative that the Knossos palace was a superior power.   We took so many photographs!   The land around the site was farm lands and we could see the rows of trees and gardens in the distance. 

Finally the site was closing.   We walked across the street to the shops and bought some postcards and some nice vases.  I bought a great necklace.  I wish i had gotten our daughters one too as i get so many compliments when I wear it although it was only 16 Euros.  We really enjoyed the site.  We would go again in a heart beat! 

Mark_Norman says:
Beautiful photos and really great review! Nice work!
Posted on: Dec 30, 2010
Liselore_Verschuren says:
I've been here in 2003 and they were working on the improvements then. I've seen some of the faded original colourings (although I'm pretty sure they had been improved earlier) and I love the new colours!
Posted on: Dec 29, 2010
bkretzer says:
Sounds like a great day!
Posted on: Nov 21, 2009
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Horns of a Bull: fertility and pro…
Horns of a Bull: fertility and pr…
sign showing where the museum piec…
sign showing where the museum pie…
Pottery shard with stripes: I put …
Pottery shard with stripes: I put…
one of the reconstructed buildings…
one of the reconstructed building…
Huge olive oil pots
Huge olive oil pots
pillars...
pillars...
frescos just off of the reception …
frescos just off of the reception…
religous procession with offerings…
religous procession with offering…
bull leapers... these are girls...
bull leapers... these are girls...
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
processional knossos
processional knossos
Knossos
Knossos
The area surrounding Knossos
The area surrounding Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
handsome tourist
handsome tourist
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Flowers at the knossos site...
Flowers at the knossos site...
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos....this is a pillar that w…
Knossos....this is a pillar that …
Knossos .....  the pillar
Knossos ..... the pillar
pillar Knossos
pillar Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos picture
Knossos picture
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
1700 to 1450 BC; HOUSE of CHANCEL …
1700 to 1450 BC; HOUSE of CHANCEL…
1700 to 1450 BC; HOUSE of CHANCEL …
1700 to 1450 BC; HOUSE of CHANCEL…
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
knossos
knossos
North Pillar Hall Knossos
North Pillar Hall Knossos
North Pillar Hall Knossos
North Pillar Hall Knossos
North Pillar Hall Knossos
North Pillar Hall Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos ... they had toilets with …
Knossos ... they had toilets with…
Knossos
Knossos
We walked out along the edge of th…
We walked out along the edge of t…
royal road map
royal road map
Knossos .... looking down at the r…
Knossos .... looking down at the …
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos royal road
Knossos royal road
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
remains of large pots
remains of large pots
looking out the side area at a farm
looking out the side area at a farm
royal road
royal road
looking down into the royal road
looking down into the royal road
Knossos
Knossos
royal road
royal road
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos pieces of striped pottery
Knossos pieces of striped pottery
pottery but I think it wasnt old
pottery but I think it wasn't old
pottery... same not old stuff
pottery... same not old stuff
side of the road... houses
side of the road... houses
royal road
royal road
side of the road
side of the road
pottery shards
pottery shards
pottery
pottery
pottery ... it was put back exactl…
pottery ... it was put back exact…
pottery shard
pottery shard
pottery...
pottery...
striped pottery
striped pottery
yep... more pottery
yep... more pottery
modern piece of glass
modern piece of glass
pottery shard
pottery shard
pottery
pottery
pottery
pottery
pottery..
pottery..
pottery
pottery
Knossos pottery
Knossos pottery
pottery
pottery
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos - grain storage
Knossos - grain storage
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
A grape press... grapes were put i…
A grape press... grapes were put …
Grape/wine press
Grape/wine press
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
I thought it was interesting that …
I thought it was interesting that…
Knossos pillar
Knossos pillar
Knossos
Knossos
pots
pots
pots
pots
pots
pots
pots
pots
pots
pots
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos Lapidarys workshop
Knossos Lapidary's workshop
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
This area is part of the throne ro…
This area is part of the throne r…
trying to look into the gloom below
trying to look into the gloom below
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
stylized Cretean paintings...
stylized Cretean paintings...
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos throne room
Knossos throne room
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
A dog who followed us for a hour...
A dog who followed us for a hour...
Horns
Horns
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
Knossos
paintings at knossos
paintings at knossos
looking down from upstairs
looking down from upstairs
knossos
knossos
Bull Dancers
Bull Dancers
wall at knossos
wall at knossos
painting
painting
knossos
knossos
knossos
knossos
Knossos
photo by: aloneinthecrowd