Sunday, July 31, 2011

Searching for the Minotaur

First impressions can be easily jaded. A 2-hour high speed boat ride from Santorini dropped us off in Iraklio, main city of Crete. It was Friday night and the town was bustling.  Car horns, scooters and trucks all played a part to rudely bounce us out of island slumber.  A walk through the pedestrian town center brought us into the middle of a political rally.  Loud speakers blared and flags waved.  Should we have left the peaceful slumber of Santorini?

For years, I have hoped to visit Crete and specifically tour the ruins of Knossus, home of the Minoan civilization and the legendary King Midas.  The next morning, we found the correct bus and were heading our of Iraklio to the ruins.  The bus steadily picked up more and more people until the end, where we joined the throngs of tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of the mythical minotaur - at least that's what I was hoping for...

Site of Knossus

From Greek Ruins

The state of Knossus left me with a question that I returned to multiple times while visiting other ruins.  Should ancient ruins be left as they are found or reconstructed? In the early 1900s, a British archaeologist named Sir Arthur Evans came to Crete and began excavation.  As he uncovered ruins, he rebuilt areas according to his interpretations.  Is today's Knossus similar to the original or widely different according to the vision of a wealthy Brit who "discovered" the ruin?  Regardless, we enjoyed walking through and thinking about life in the time that Greek gods mingled with mere mortals. 

Famous dolphin fresco

From Greek Ruins

Huge urns over a storage / water? area

From Greek Ruins

Bull Fresco

From Greek Ruins

My one true disappointment of the visit was that there was absolutely no mention of the minotaur.  Maybe we should have joined the massive groups and followed along a yapping tour guide.

Travel Tip to those visiting Crete: Visit Knossus and get out of Iraklio the same day.  It is logistically easy and Crete is awesome when away from the city.

1 comment:

  1. RoseisalwayscheckingyourblogsAugust 3, 2011 at 9:53 PM

    OMYGOD. This luks like an awesum trip to me :DDDDD. so chb related. LOL. hahahhahahaha. wished you guys had fun there =)