Minoans and Minotaurs

Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
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Trip End Sep 30, 2010


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Flag of Greece  , Crete,
Wednesday, May 19, 2010

As a town, Heraklion is nothing much to look at. Other than a few remaining defensive walls and a 400 year old Lion Fountain, it is a multistory sprawl of shiny new characterless apartment buildings.
Inhabited since the stone age, the tourist drawcard dates to Minoan times - that little civilisation around 1600BC that was largely destroyed by the tsunami when Santorini erupted and sank.
5km from Heraklion are the remains of the Minoan palace of Knossos, which has been a veritable treasure trove of finds from painted wall frescoes to imported alabaster vases from ancient Egypt.

Perhaps you are more familiar with it as home to the labyrinth and minotaur? Sadly there is no longer a minotaur to be found unless that is why they block all access to the lower levels of maze like rooms. The palace was over enthusiastically excavated and reconstructed in the early 1900s by Oxford scholar Evans, a man with such a fetish for reinforced concrete that he really should have considered a career as a civil engineer. The reconstruction makes it far more impressive to see than simply wandering through heaps of fallen rocks, although sadly it owes far more to Evans' imagination than archaeological fact - sadly because the painted-to-look-like-wood-and-stone concrete reconstruction is not reversible.
I think they should have done the job properly and had a go at a painted-to-look-real concrete minotaur.
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