Crete Day 5

Knossos Travel Blog

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also known as the Knossos Palace is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and probably the ceremonial and political center of the Minoan civilization and culture. The oldest part is about 4,000 years old.
The alarm went off at 6.30 a.m. since we had a very busy day. It was time for more sightseeing. We wanted to go to the ancient minoan palace of Knossos which is located close to Iraklio. That was about 2 hours to drive and we wanted to be there early before it was too crowded. But we were to late :( When we arrived around 10 a.m. the parking was already full with busses and cars. There was a long queue in front of the entrance and we had to wait about 15 minutes to get in.

We were recommended to book a guided tour since the area is huge. So we dicided to do so and after that (which was about 1 1/2 hours) there would be time enough to take some pictures. The guide was very kind and well educated. She told us a lot of the history in a perfect german ;)

I've forgotten a lot and I need Wikipedia's help one more time ;) :o

Knossos (alternative spellings Knossus, Cnossus, Greek Κνωσός pronounced [kno̞ˈso̞s]), also known as Labyrinth, or Knossos Palace, is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and probably the ceremonial and political center of the Minoan civilization and culture.

It is also a tourist destination today, as it is near the main city of Heraklion and has been substantially, if imaginatively "restored", making the site more comprehensible to the visitor than a field of unmarked ruins.

The city of Knossos remained important through the Classical and Roman periods, but its population shifted to the new town of Handaq (modern Heraklion) during the 9th century AD. By the 13th century, it was called Makryteikhos 'Long Wall'; the bishops of Gortyn continued to call themselves Bishops of Knossos until the 19th century.[1] Today, the name is used only for the archaeological site situated in the suburbs of Heraklion.

The palace is about 130 meters on a side and since the Roman period has been suggested as the source of the myth of the Labyrinth, an elaborate mazelike structure constructed for King Minos of Crete and designed by the legendary artificer Daedalus to hold the Minotaur, a creature that was half man and half bull and was eventually killed by the Athenian hero Theseus.

Labyrinth comes from the word labrys, referring to a double, or two-bladed, axe. Its representation had religious and probably magical significance. It was used throughout the Mycenaean world as an apotropaic symbol; that is, the presence of the symbol on an object would prevent it from being "killed." Axes were scratched on many of the stones of the palace. It appears in pottery decoration and is a motif of the Shrine of the Double Axes at the palace, as well as of many shrines throughout Crete and the Aegean. The etymology of the name is not known; it is probably not Greek. The form labyr-inthos uses a suffix generally considered to be pre-Greek.

The location of the labyrinth of legend has long been a question for Minoan studies. It might have been the name of the palace or of some portion of the palace. Throughout most of the 20th century the intimations of human sacrifice in the myth puzzled Bronze Age scholars, because evidence for human sacrifice on Crete had never been discovered and so it was vigorously denied.

The oldest sewage system in europe
The practice was finally confirmed archaeologically (see under Minoan civilization). It is possible that the palace was a great sacrificial center and could have been named the Labyrinth. Its layout certainly is labyrinthine, in the sense of intricate and confusing.

Many other possibilities have been suggested. The modern meaning of labyrinth as a twisting maze is based on the myth.

Several out-of-epoch advances in the construction of the palace are thought to have originated the myth of Atlantis.

It would be far to many informations if I would copy the whole report from Wikipedia. If you're interested you can read it by yourselves ;)

Well, let me say that: it was very impressive although it was too crowded. Sometimes we had to wait very long until we could get into some buildings like the Throne Room or the Queen's Room. After walking around for about 4 hours we were exhausted from all those informations, the heat and the people around. We decided to visit a more quiet place.

At late afternoon we've been to Gortyn. There's also an ancient place but not as well known as Phaistos and Knossos therefore it was amazingly quiet there.

it is maybe the most crowded place on Crete ;)
The man who sold us the tickets was very kind and told us a bit about the place.

Gortyn, the Roman capital of Crete, was first inhabited around 3200 BC, and was a flourishing Minoan town between 1600-1100 BC. Placed in the valley of Messara in the north of the Psiloritis mountain in the current position of the settlements of Metropolis and Ten Saints (Hagioi Deka), and near the Libyan Sea.

Among archaeologists, ancient historians, and classicists Gortyn is known today primarily because of the 1884 discovery of the Gortyn Code which is both the oldest and most complete known example of a code of ancient Greek law.

[5] [6] The code was discovered on the site of a structure built by the Roman emperor Trajan, the Odeon, which for the second time, reused stones from an inscription-bearing wall that also had been incorporated into the foundation of an earlier Hellenistic structure. Although portions of the inscriptions have been placed in museums such as the Louvre in Paris, a modern structure at the site of the mostly ruined Odeon now houses many of the stones bearing the famous law code. (Source Wikipedia)

It was very nice to wander around the area. It cooled down a bit and we had a greek coffee in the cafeteria.

sylviandavid says:
We got hot and went across the street for a beer and lunch.... The area really seemed to cook with all of the open space and stone...
Posted on: Sep 17, 2009
aloneinthecrowd says:
It was hard work since the place was very crowded. It took me lots of patience and good timing ;)
Posted on: Aug 04, 2009
travelman727 says:
Fabulous photos! I like your pics better than mine :-D
Posted on: Aug 04, 2009
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also known as the Knossos Palace i…
also known as the Knossos Palace …
The oldest sewage system in europe
The oldest sewage system in europe
it is maybe the most crowded place…
it is maybe the most crowded plac…
The palace was about 4 floors high…
The palace was about 4 floors hig…
still working
still working
The oldest mosaic in europe
The oldest mosaic in europe
The Throne room
The Throne room
The queens room
The queen's room
The oldest road in europe
The oldest road in europe
The oldest theatre in europe
The oldest theatre in europe
All paintings you see there are re…
All paintings you see there are r…
photo by: aloneinthecrowd