Monday, October 06, 2008

Knossos Palace

Deciding it was time to sort through the papers on my desk from a trip Malaysia, Turkey and Greece in May/June, I thought I would mention highlights. The first is Palace of Knossos (Κνωσός) in Crete. There is not arduous journey involved, as it is a suburban bus trip from the centre of Heraklion, the capital of Crete. As with many Greek arecological site, first impressions are not good, with the bus stopping at a collection of roadside (actually on the road) souvenir stands. This is a very busy tourist attraction so it is best to arrive at opening time.

Just inside the gate there is a tasteful new museum shop and restaurant (which didn't seem to be open). The site is controversial with reconstruction by Sir Arthur Evans, not in keeping with modern archaeological practice. But it gives a good idea what the buildings may have looked like. Near the entrance there are a series of circular holes cut into the rock several metres across, which look to me like a three stage water treatment system. I couldn't find any explanation of the structures, but Crete is a very dry place and so water management was a big thing at the palace. Several sections have been rebuilt in concrete and painted. Much of the contents found are at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum in the city. If you are short of time, visit the museum and skip the palace.

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