25 Aug 2004 - Crete (Knossos), Greece

This day got a little cultural and we visited the world famous Palace of Knossos. We had a guided tour around the ruins of the Palace and while informative, I'm sure there were more than a few inaccuracies but it also provided a few eye openers as well - eye openers of the sort that made me want to stay on the subject of what I was being told and keep asking questions.

To understand the downfall of the Minoan civilisation he explained that "when a civilisation lives a 'good' life and its people work hard, then everything is very good and the civilisation grows but when the civilisation is strong its people get lazy and the men go from laying with women to the stage where men lay with other men and even that both men and women lay with the animals."

STOP! Woah there! Did I hear him right? That the next and final stage in the life of a great civilisation is when 'men and women lay with the bull'? Is this man Borat or was he really telling this to his tour group? Shocking information that he deserved questioning on but then he nonchalantly changed to his next subject! I mean, someone can't be casually told that bestiality signals the end of civilisation, that right now our civilisation is also living life 'bad' and then have the subject switched! We three chaps all were like overgrown schoolboys stifling our giggles but what a great twist to the story of the downfall of the Minoans.
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Crete - The palace of Knossos (bull fresco)

Crete - The palace of Knossos (bull fresco)

Most of the ruins that can be seen date from 1700 BC though the first buildings on here were erected around 1900 BC. After 1700 BC the complex was rebuilt after an earthquake between 1450 BC and 1500 BC. Fire devastated it about 50 years after this which also coincides with the end of Minoan civilisation.
Crete - The palace of Knossos

Crete - The palace of Knossos

There is not much on site that informs the visitor what they are looking at so a good guide book and perhaps even being part of a tour would be a good bet. I always wonder how much the guides actually know and how much is made up for the tourists. After all, what qualifications do these people need? Are they local history enthusiasts or archeologists supplementing their wages? Or just amateurs gifted at telling a tale?
Crete - Camping it up in Knossos

Crete - Camping it up in Knossos

Myself and Nick doing a great impression of a couple of members of the homo persuasion.
Crete - Dolphin Fresco

Crete - Dolphin Fresco

Above the door to the queen's apartments is a copy of the Dolphin Fresco, one of the most exquisite of Minoan artworks. The original is held in the Heraklion Archeolgical Museum.
Crete - Palace of Knossos - Minoan columns

Crete - Palace of Knossos - Minoan columns

This photo shows the Minoan style of column which are tapered at the bottom.

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