Palace of Knossos, birthplace of Minoan culture

Trip Start Jan 11, 2007
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Trip End Jan 15, 2010


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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The palace at Knossos was constructed around 1600BC, and its convuluted structure was the origin of the word labyrinth. In Greek mythology, the Labyrinth was an elaborate structure designed and built by the legendary Daedalus for King Minos of Crete at Knossos. Its function was to hold the Minotaur, a creature that was half man and half bull and was eventually killed by the Athenian hero Theseus. Daedalus made the Labyrinth so cunning that he himself could barely escape it after he built it. A string connected to the entrance helped him find his way out.

The term labyrinth is often used interchangeably with maze. A single-path (unicursal) labyrinth has only a single Eulerian path to the center. This single-path design was widespread in artistic depictions of the Minotaur's Labyrinth.

Honestly, I was disappointed in the palace at Knossos. Maybe I've just gotten a bit jaded by all the Roman ruins we've seen. Yes, this place was older by a few hundred centuries. But in the early 1900s, an archeologist stripped off all the important frescoes and major artifacts, and those artifacts now rest inside a museum. What's left at the sight is a complete reconstruction, complete with wall frescoes that look like they were painted in 1995. I thought we were supposed to tour the actual, historic sight. Next time, I'll pay more attention to the description of the place we're headed, and then geeky me can make sure I see all the "real" artifacts, ancient coins, and paintings in the appropriate museum.
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