Sunday, October 11, 2015

Wednesday, June 17, 2015 – Heraklion, Greece – Sunny – Warm - 90F

Port Information.  Heraklion is the largest city and capital of the Island of Crete, Greece.  The city has a population of about 174,000 people.  Heraklion gets its name from the Roman port of Herculaneum (City of Hercules).  The Palace of Knossos is the largest Bronze age archeological site on the island and may be the oldest city in Europe.  The palace is the mythological home of King Minos (e.g. the Minoan Civilization).  He is responsible for the construction of the Labyrinth, a maze of caves meant to confine his son, the formidable Minotaur.  This is the inaugural visit to Heraklion for Queen Victoria. 

It is a very warm day in Heraklion.

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Heraklion From the Ship

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Turkey in the Distance

The airport must have been quite close as we were able to see several aircraft taking off over the ship.

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This is the first time that Queen Victoria has visited this particular port.  Heraklion, showing its appreciation and hoping that we return, put together a little ceremony marking the occasion.  A band and tent, maybe a few dignitaries, marked our maiden stop.  The Commodore, himself, attended.

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Festivities and Commodore Returning to the Ship

We are both on tour today to visit “The Ancient City of Knossos”.  Knossos has a significant place in Greek Mythology as it is thought to be the city ruled by King Minos of Minotaur fame.  Some believe it to be the oldest city in Europe.

The bus had good A/C and the guide was pretty understandable.

We saw a number of interesting sights along the way to Knossos.  The first was the Venetian Fortress of Rocca al Mare.  This fortress dates from the first half of the 16th Century and was designed to protect the inner harbor of the port city.


Venetian Fortress

Also visible among the newer buildings in the port area were medieval walls of the old city.

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Medieval Walls

We also got a squinty view of Queen Victoria through the many masts of boats in the Marina.

20150617_Heraklion marina QV

Once we arrived at Knossos, things became a little more hectic.  There were several tours visiting at the same time and it was very difficult to keep my group together and hear what the guide was saying (no Whisper Sets).  So with the exception of the Palace of Minos, I was not able to determine what most of the sights were.

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Tour Group 17 – Trying to Stay Together

Palace of Minos

Palace of Minos

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South Propylaeum (South Entrance to the Palace of Minos)

Near the entrance was the Fresco of the Procession.  The Minoans had a technique of coloring the frescos while the plaster was wet.  This allowed the plant color to soak in and last for centuries.  In Minoan art, men are always painted red and women white.

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“Bull Leaping” Fresco (1500-1700 BC)


“The Ladies of the Court”

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Mosaic Floor

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Throne Room at the Palace of Knossos

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Above Series (Knossos)

As it turned out, we didn’t lose anyone. 

The tour then left Knossos and headed back to Heraklion, where we would have some free time.  Ellen and I were able to rendezvous in the town so we could walk and see some of Heraklion’s shops and restaurants.  We did find a nice gelato place which took some of the bite out of the heat.

We did come across a fascinating fountain in Lion’s Square called the Morosini Fountain.  It was a well preserved structure from the Venetian Era.

20150617_Morosini Fountain

A long but interesting day of touring.

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