Knossos Palace in Crete. Greece, Crete: Attractions
The famous Greek island of Crete, the dream of travelers, is located south of the tourist routes cover its entire territory. Trips to Crete begin in the province of Chania, then pass through the Rethymnon and Heraklion districts, and end in the administrative territory of Lasithi. Each tour includes a whole program, sightseeing and acquaintance with the customs and traditions of the Greeks, the native Greek inhabitants.
Crete has always been surrounded by myths and legends. At the present time, it is also a repository of ancient Greek history. The main attraction of Crete is Knossos Palace - a unique ancient building. Some lovers of antiquities identify the residence of King Minos with the legendary labyrinth of Daedalus, but it should be understood that this is not the same thing.Both historical structures are at a considerable distance from each other.
In general, the excursions in Crete are of a folklore nature, they are very interesting and informative. But the most attractive tourist attraction on the island is the ancient Knossos, which is located four kilometers south of the capital of Crete, the city of Heraklion. The historical interrelation of these territories goes back to the days of the domination of King Minos, after which the noble Achaean Greeks began to own the island, initiating the Mycenaean civilization.
Today, one of the most spectacular landmarks of Greece is the Palace of Knossos in Crete, famous for its labyrinths in which the Minotaur lived - a man with a bull’s head, a monster secretly born by the king’s wife Minos, Pasiphaia. According to legend, the Greek engineer-artist Daedalus built for him a huge underground labyrinth, from which it was impossible to get out. A terrible monster in the form of a bull-headed man constantly demanded sacrifices and from time to time in the dungeon to the Minotaur brought seven girls and seven young men, whom he devoured.
But once, Theseus, the son of the Athenian ruler Egeios, came to the labyrinths of the Palace of Knossos. He decided to kill the Minotaur and save Hellas from a terrible misfortune. However, to enter the maze - meant to die there. Theseus met with the daughter of King Minos, Ariadne, who gave him a ball of thread. Theseus secured the end of the thread at the entrance and went deep into the possession of the Minotaur. He spotted the monster and killed him. And the thread of Ariadne brought the hero to the surface.
Enchanted maze,Knossos Palace Minotaur, ceased to exist. From now on, the Hellenes could live in peace.
In 2000 BCThe palace of Knossos in Crete suffered from the strongest earthquake, and 300 years later, in 1740, it was almost completely destroyed by fires that followed one after another.
Finally, the Palace of Knossos in Crete collapsed during a volcanic eruption on the island of Santorini, which occurred in 1450 BC and re-caused widespread fires. The population then fled from all nearby islands to the mainland. The palace of Knossos in Crete was not the only one to be affected by the architectural structure, together with the palaces of Zakros and Festus were killed.
According to scientists, historically there were two periods of the palace. The first, “early kingdom”, dates back to 2000 BC.The palace stood for three hundred years, and then was destroyed by the elements.
On its ruins the Greeks built a new one that still exists today. He is considered a masterpiece of the "late" period on the island of Crete. The heyday of the Minoan civilization fell at that time, the level of architectural mastery rose high, engineering technologies developed - all this was best reflected in the construction of the renovated Knossos palace.
A masterpiece of Minoan architecture spread over a wide area of two and a half hectares. There are more than a thousand rooms and several huge halls in the palace. In fact, the Palace of Knossos, whose history has been around for several thousand years, became the residence of the king and included all vital administrative and economic services. Such centralization turned out to be very useful for the city, which surrounded the palace and became as if its continuation.
The first studies of the upper cultural layers in the territory of the Knossos Palace were made by Greek patron Minos Kalokerino in 1878, when the island of Crete was under Turkish rule.The results of the excavations were depressing: nowhere could not find any graves or signs of human activity. Scientists have made the assumption that during the period of natural disasters, earthquakes, fires and volcanic eruptions, the Hellenes inhabiting Crete and other nearby islands left the inhabited lands and moved to the mainland.
These findings are indirectly confirmed by the excavations of the western part of the peninsula, the residence of the ancient Etruscans. In Italy, many were found and burial, and evidence of human activity. The same can be said about Palestine, where artifacts were also found. Some researchers compared the fate of ancient Crete with similar events in Atlantis, with the only difference that the Greek island was destroyed by the fire element, and the ocean island-state went under water.
Knossos Palace: how to get there
There are several ways to get to ancient Knossos. However, all the ways to the palace begin in the capital of the island of Crete - Heraklion city. Thus, you must first arrive at HERAKLION, preferably directly to the central bus station, from where the blue buses at number 2 go to the city of Knossos.You need to sit on the platform with the words BUS TO KNOSOS.
The fare on the route Heraklion-Knossos Palace is one and a half euros in one direction, but you should take a return ticket, as there are no ticket offices in Knossos and it is impossible to buy a ticket there.
It is best to go to the final stop. For greater certainty, you can find the Palace of Knossos on the map and determine its position relative to the bus station in Knossos. In a pinch, any local resident will tell the traveler the way.
So, on the way to the palace, you can be sure that the tour took place, and a minute later the Knossos Palace, whose hours of operation are strictly regulated (from 8 am to 19 pm, seven days a week), will hospitably open its doors. The administration announces all changes in the schedule of the museum in advance.
The frescoes of the Knossos Palace, the oldest wall paintings, unique in their beauty, of historical and artistic value, are located separately from the dilapidated palace premises. Most of the images were restored by artists from the team of the English archaeologist Arthur John Evans, who was engaged in the excavations of the Palace of Knossos in 1900. Work continued until 1931.
Some frescoes were named, for example, the image of a young woman with a priestess hair, began to be called "Parisian." In her appearance there really is something from the French fashion of the early 20th century. However, in the catalogs it is listed as "Minoan lady".
Visitors enter the palace from the western entrance, and the first thing that appears before tourists is three wide stone wells for ritual sacrifices. Next is a corridor that leads to a spacious courtyard, which gives the impression of some randomness. Lots of randomly located galleries, large and small rooms, staircases, not leading anywhere. On the walls a number of decorations on sports topics. Boys competing with each other, and girls playing with the bulls. All pictures are written out in the smallest details.
Next, a wide staircase connects the courtyard with the royal chambers. Here everything is harmonious and orderly, a strict alternation of red and black columns arranged in a special way. Studies have shown that the colonnade in the royal chambers is associated with larger external pillars. Air flows from above and carry coolness, which is evenly distributed between the lower columns. Thus, a microclimate was created in the bedroom of the kings.
Knossos Palace today
A grand monument of antiquity, a unique masterpiece of sacred architecture, its majestic ruins convey the spirit of 3000 years ago. The amazing relief of monolithic stone blocks, jewelry mosaic, timeless - all this attracts millions of tourists from all over the world.
The Knossos Palace is not only the rarest museum exhibit, it is also the object of close attention of scientists. Architects, ethnographers, graphic designers and many other specialists study the structure from the point of view of classical architecture, artistic and historical value, and social and public facilities.
The palace has absorbed the history of several millennia, beginning with the late Neolithic, and this requires scientific analysis and systematization. Scientists around the world consider it an honor to participate in projects to study the unique structure in Crete. Every year materials on the Palace of Knossos are becoming more voluminous and reliable.