My Very Last Day in Greece

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July 8th 2012
Published: July 8th 2012
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Slender Columns Slender Columns Slender Columns

This is the Minoan trademark: columns that taper down at the bottom.
You always reach a point where you're just done with a country, like you've wrapped it all up and are ready to move on. Today that best explains how I've felt about Greece for a couple of days now. Yes, I enjoy the new places and sites, but I'm sick of classical architecture and ruined palaces. I need pyramids and the tombs of pharaohs now! And if I have to eat another moussaka I might throw up. I need to go to Egypt!

That being said, today was a nice, basic day, travelling around my last few sites. Started in the morning with the famous Palace of Knossos, which is about a 15 min. bus ride from Iraklio, and is really the entire reason I came to Crete in the first place. This was probably the greatest Minoan city, and is so interesting today because of the fevered imagination of Sir Arthur Evans, who found the palace complex in the early 1900s, and actually rebuilt entire sections of it based partly off history, and largely off what he wished it had looked like. This is one of the only archeological sites where the remains have actually been reassembled. Nice because
Wall FrescoesWall FrescoesWall Frescoes

These are reproductions... and where Evans thought they most likely were located.
you appreciate the true awesomeness of certain places, but also makes you oddly suspicious - is this actually what it looked like? Most archeologists today are at odds with Evans' rebuilding of Knossos.

The Minoans also were an absolutely fascinating group of people, mainly because they are so mysterious. It was Evans who named them after King Minos, the mythical King of Crete. Up until that point they existed more in legend than in reality. This all occurred between roughly 3400-2100 BC. Then, equally as fascinating, the Minoans just simply vanished from the pages of history, and people to this day really have no idea what ultimately led to their downfall. A huge blow was the volcanic eruption on Santorini in the 1400s BC, which caused a massive tsunami that took out most of their major cities. Their written language is also a mystery.

Spent most of the day at the palace and then saw wonderful Minoan finds at the museum back in Iraklio. Almost as good as the museum in Athens. Have now, though, mentally switched gears to Egypt, and am thinking in Egyptian Pounds and my flight to Cairo tomorrow. Goodbye Greece.

Additional photos below
Photos: 12, Displayed: 12


Out in the Hills Out in the Hills
Out in the Hills

Knossos is in the countryside.
Multi-Story ReconstructionMulti-Story Reconstruction
Multi-Story Reconstruction

You get a true sense of what the palace might have looked like... not just a pile of rubble.
Giant PithoiGiant Pithoi
Giant Pithoi

Huge storage jugs found at Knossos.
The Grand StaircaseThe Grand Staircase
The Grand Staircase

Evans places the king's chambers at the bottom of the stairs, but others don't think so.
The Throne RoomThe Throne Room
The Throne Room

Maybe the place where the King of Knossos held court.
At Knossos At Knossos
At Knossos

Today was a very hot day.
Bull RhytonBull Rhyton
Bull Rhyton

This was used to pour libations out during ceremonies.
Famous Leaping Bull FrescoFamous Leaping Bull Fresco
Famous Leaping Bull Fresco

Bulls are important to the Minoans - this was, after all, the home of the Minotaur, the mythical bull-beast trapped in a maze (Knossos was maze-like).
Le Parisienne frescoLe Parisienne fresco
Le Parisienne fresco

The Minoans didn't know French, but those who found this painting thought her beauty looked French.
The Blue Bird fresco The Blue Bird fresco
The Blue Bird fresco

The Minoans were great artists.

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