Knossos and Phaestos
Knossos- The reconstructed north entrance

Knossos is, of course, Crete's most famous monument: the largest, strongest and most impressive of the island's Minoan palaces, a true must for every visitor. In Knossos, as Kazantzakis put it, one's mind is flooded with questions and one's heart beats with a different rhythm.
The dolphin mural from the queen's apartments
The reconstructed western colonnade of the north entrance corridor
When these ruins were a Minoan palace, they were inhabited by a king, called Minos.
Minos is a mixture of myth and history; in the myths, in order to win the throne of Crete, he asked Poseidon to send him a bull.
So as to demonstrate to the Cretans that he had been chosen by the gods and that they shïuld accept him as their ruler. He promised to sacriféce the bull to Poseidon afterwards, but broke his promise, letting the god-sent bull graze peacefully in a field while sacrificing an ordinary one to the god.

e was to pay dearly for his attempt to hoodwink the god; his wife Pasiphae fell madly in love with the sacred bull and their union produced a monster with the head of a bull and the body of a man: the Minotaur. Daedalus built the Labyrinth so that the Minotaur could be shut up in it. Its rapacity was satisfied by the seven young men and seven maidens whom the Athenians were compelled to send to Crete as tribute each year.
A red-figure cylex of the 5th century BC.The central theme is the death of the Minotaur

The palace itself had a total area of some 22,000 square meters, and it stretched a city whose population has been estimated at between 80,000 and 100,000. The palace we see today is the second palace, rebuilt after the destruction of the first. The excavations were carried out in 1900 by the English archaeologist Arthur Evans.
The Phaestos archaeological site
The archaeological site of Phaestos is the island's second most important, after Knossos.
In some ways, it could be said that its palace is in better condition than that at Knossos, since the archaeologists working
here used different principles and avoid reconstruction altogether.
A brief tour of the palace will take at least two hours.


any of the objects found on the site, which are of tremendous importance for our knowledge of Minoan civilization, can be seen in Herakleio Archaeological Museum. Perhaps the most important is the so- called "Phaestos Disc" which is held to be the oldest example of hieroglyphic writing ever found and is believed to record a hymn to the goddess Rhea.
The Phaistos disc, whose sacred symbols still not yielded their secret

Photos and text taken from "Crete - today and yesterday"
and "Crete - A tour of all the towns and villages"
(Toubis Editions)
Toubis Editions
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