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Crete and the Minoans

GREECE | Thursday, 15 January 2015 | Views [439]

Bull-jumper mosaic from Knossos, Archeological Museum, Heraklion

Bull-jumper mosaic from Knossos, Archeological Museum, Heraklion

A FLIGHT FROM RHODES TO CRETE, VIA ATHENS of course, costs a bit more than the ferry but takes a only a few hours rather than a full day.  We are staying at the Kastro Hotel, well-appointed and centrally located in Heraklion or Irákleio, take your pick.  Steeped in mythology, Crete is the birthplace of Zeus and is believed by many to be the cradle of European civilization.

Four thousand years ago, while the pharos of Egypt were contracting the pyramids, the Minoans had a flourishing Bronze Age in Crete.  A little fuzzy about who the Minoans were?  Don’t fret —  they were mostly forgotten from 1450 BC until 1900 AD when the British archeologist Arthur Evans unearthed the Palace of Knossos.  From 2700 BC until, weakened by earthquakes and ash and the tsunami from the eruption of Thera on Santorini, they were taken over by the Myceans, the Minoans had the most impressive culture in Europe.

The best place to learn about Minoan culture and to see the wonderful artifacts they left behind is at the Archeological Museum in Heraklion.  Recently remodeled, it has one of the better curated collections we have seen, chock-a-block with 

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   Minoan pottery                                  Decorative seals

 pottery, seals, 

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    Golden Bee Pendant                         Snake Goddess

jewelry, votive statuary 


   Example of Linear B

and even one of the first forms of writing.


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