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Visiting the Minotaur - Knossos

Knossos Knossos Creative Common BY

Not all of us likely read Greek myths in the school. Today, however, you can observe a clear trend referring to ancient times – for example in Hollywood film productions created on a grand scale. The times heroes and demigods have always been particularly fascinating, and especially today, when we learned to use computer technology instead of our muscles.

One of the most popular myths is the tale of Theseus and Ariadne. Father of Cretan princess, Minos, ruled his territory from the palace of Knossos. The magnificent building hid dozens of corridors resembling a huge maze. According to the legend, this place was a home of a half-man half-bull, the Minotaur.

World had to wait hundreds of years for the discovery of a gigantic palace and the mysterious maze, which finally happened at the beginning of twentieth century. Then Sir Arthur John Evans acquired a piece of land on the island of Crete and made one of the greatest discoveries in the history of world archeology. He came across the palace of Minos.

Facing the past

The ruins of Knossos are one of the largest (if not the largest, actually) monument in Crete. In the peak season you should expect crowds of people huddled in long lines - especially to the Throne Room, belonging to the forefront attractions of this spot. The legend of the Cretan Labyrinth attracts both organized tours and individual lovers of antiquity. To avoid hours of waiting, it’s best to come to the ruins at lunchtime, or early in the morning. During the high season, we can explore the ruins from 8 am to 5 pm.

The ticket costs about 6 euros. We won’t pay for the possibility of taking pictures, and for using the toilet…just give how much you want. During the tour it’s very difficult to find a good place to hide from the sun, so don’t forget about taking water with you. Alternatively, after leaving the ruins, you can refresh in one of the many taverns, drinking cold frappe. They are located next to the parking lots - the closer to the excavations, the more of taverns. What’s important, the owners of part of the parking lots don’t charge for using them, they only expect you to use the services of these taverns.

The greatest treasure of Crete

The construction of the gigantic palace took nearly 300 years. Today we can admire the remains of the ruins from the late-Minoan period. The remains had 4 separate entrances, and the complex covers the area of ​​about 24 thousand m². It housed a theater, about 1,300 rooms connected by a tangle of corridors and numerous warehouses. Artfully created staircases prove that the palace was storied.

Red columns are a characteristic feature of the palace. Originally they were made ​​from the trunk of the cypress, but now are made of concrete. The exhibits, which you can see in the building, include ceramic and bronze figurines, pithoi for oil and grain storage, as well as things made of gold. The most famous chamber, to which today lead the longest queues of visitors, is the already mentioned Throne Room. It’s decorated with colorful frescoes depicting seating griffins, and at the north wall there’s an alabaster seat - the oldest throne in Europe.

Overnight near the Minotaur’s Labyrinth

From the ruins, you can easily get a bus to Heraklion – they run very often. Tourists, who wish to visit the largest city of the island, but have more time and their own means of transport, may swerve slightly to the east and stop at the Creta Camping. It’s situated on the seafront, in the town of Kato Gouves. An overnight stay costs 5,50-6,50 euro/day, while the costs for the position of the motorhome is 5-6,50 euro/day.

The road from Kato Gouves to Heraklion leads along the coast. By the way, we can pay a visit to Cretaquarium Thalassocosmos - Aquarium, and then move to the city of Hercules.

Translation: Karolina Strzałkowska

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