Phaistos ...Festos ....
Phaistos (Festos) Travel Blog› entry 26 of 38 › view all entries
FESTOS: PHAISTOS Amazing place: the disc of Festos was discovered here....
We drove towards the south west of the island. The area we were driving through was a rich agricultural region called the valley of Messara. It was lined with orchards, vineyards, gardens and fields. We wondered what it would have looked like when it was around harvest time. It was really wonderful to look out across the patterns of the different crops.
Phaistos is built on a hill. As we drove we saw the signs for Festos: also spelled Phaistos.
The excavations showed the site was ruins of Neolithic times 3000 BC. According to mythology Phaistos was the home of king Radamanthis: brother of Minos. The city was also the home of Epimenidis one of the seven wise men of the ancient world. The Phaistos palace was first built at 2000 BC. It was the second largest city of Minoan Crete. In 1700 BC the palace was destroyed by an earthquake. It was built again with more grandeur and magnificence. The city participated in the Trojan War and became a leader in the Dorian period.
Phaistos palace was located so it was the dominate force of the Messara valley.
It flourished but was destroyed by the Gorthnians during the 3rd century BC. It continued to exist during the Roman period. The seaports to Phaistos was Matala and Kommos.
The Disc of Phaistos is one of the most important discoveries. It is embossed with symbols believed to be an early example of printing Which is basically pressing shapes into damp clay. The hieroglyphics are the earliest know Minoan script dated approximately 1700 to 1600 BC. Both the front and back are covered with Hieroglyphs: it is arranged in a spiral. The groups are divided by lines (like a pie cut).
One thing I really enjoyed was watching a man repair an oil vessel. He was working down in the storage areas (which are sunken areas) and had a tarp over him for shade. It was really quite hot. I kneeled and took some pictures ... He was so nice..... he put the shade cover up so I could see better..... It was so great to see the careful work he did.... first he filled he holes with a palette then he matched the grain on the outside with the paint brush.... it was really an art. I sat for about a half hour watching him.... then I noticed how hot he was and realized he must be quite uncomfortable.... I thanked him in Greek and handed him a cold bottle of water I had just purchased at the snack bar. He had earned it by standing in the roasting sun while I photographed his work....