Visiting the ancient Temple of Knossos (by Robert)

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The Palace at Knossos, CreteRobert, who’s 10, writes:

When we went to Crete, one thing really surprised me, and that was how great visiting Knossos was. I thought visiting an ancient palace in Greece sounded a bit boring, and that was without the one hour car journey just to get there from our resort. But I was proved wrong, as the walking tour (around one and a half hours long) was fun and very interesting. As well as being able to explore parts of a building established in around 2000 BC, we also found out that one of the most famous Greek myths of all originated from there.

Knossos is a palace which is located on an ancient piece of land dating back to the Bronze Age. It was thought to be the palace owned by King Minos (one of Zeus’s three sons) and was destroyed three times by natural causes.

Each time it was rebuilt again grander than before until it was eventually just left in ruins. Over time it became a hill and in 1899 after a previous archaeological dig that was stopped by the Turkish government, a man called Arthur Evans unearthed the whole palace where he discovered paintings, rooms and even ancient thrones, all of which you can still see today. He also tried to re-create the palace as it had been thousands of years before (some people don’t like these recreations, but I thought it was good to see what it would have looked like).

The double headed axe seen at the Temple of Knossos, Crete
The double headed axe

When we went to Knossos,  we had a lovely tour guide who told us many interesting facts but my favourite has got to be that the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur was created here. As the building was so big it was a bit like a maze or a labyrinth. The word “labyrinth” actually came from Knossos and means “the palace of double headed axes” (you can see these double headed axes drawn on many of the stones).

One of the gods they used to worship went to sleep in the winter and woke in the spring. At that time of the year the Minoans would celebrate by letting fourteen year olds die (a very strange way to celebrate!). To become an adult in the community you had to grab on to a charging bull’s horns and flip yourself over he creature. If you successfully completed the task,  a family, wealth and a job awaited you but if you failed, the only thing that awaited you was death. This bull was named after the ruler of the palace, King Minos thus creating the Minotaur.

The throne room at the Temple of Knossos, Crete
The Throne Room

I loved the throne room, as you got to see a real-life ancient throne that the monarch used to sit on. This had a ten minute queue to get in, but it was worth it. Funnily enough the queen’s throne was in a separate room to the king’s. I enjoyed looking at the ancient artwork and tools plus walking up stairs thousands of years old.

Dolphin freeze in queen's rooms at the Temple of Knossos, Crete
We loved the dolphin frieze which was in the Queen’s rooms

I really enjoyed visiting Knossos even though it was tiring walking for a long time in the hot sun, so definitely bring a bottle of water (we finished five). I loved it but I wouldn’t take kids under six because it is rather confusing and there is lots of walking. You don’t have to get a tour guide but I would recommend it as I’m sure it’s the best way to learn from the experience.

Standing in the ancient theatre at the Temple of Knossos, Crete
Standing in the ancient theatre at the Temple of Knossos, Crete

You can see highlights of our trip to Crete in this video – including some shots of Knossos.

 

 

Mum says: We stayed in Crete at the beautiful Domes of Elounda (post to follow) and we took a car from our hotel to Knossos. The palace is located around 5km from Heraklion.
It costs just €6 to enter. You can also queue up for a guide, as we did, going round in a small group. This cost us €10 per person. It was definitely worth it to be told all about the history and given extra facts too. 

Yesterday it was reported that prices are to be raised for many Greek monuments, with entry to Knossos rising to 15.

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44 Responses

  1. leonii Amber

    Wow looks beautiful, love the video but yes looks very hot probably to hot for me I would need more than 5 bottles just for me ha!

  2. Kris

    Love this post. I really want to visit Greece next summer. The old buildings are so fascinating.

  3. Stephen

    I am a big fan of visiting these ancient monument sites, we did quite a few in Cyprus a few years back and the same in Spain last year.

    • Robert

      It was amazing. I learnt so much in two hours and saw some incredible things. I was so hot though. It was around 30 degrees. You never get that temperature in England.

    • Robert

      Greece is absolutely fantastic, the weather is so much better than in London and there’s so much to do, If you go you should definitely go to Knossos, it was brilliant.

  4. Corinne

    I keep hearing mixed reviews on Knossos, but of course will go anyway. I did love that your 10 year old loved it. I’m sure I’ll feel the same way. Crete here I come!

    • Sarah Ebner

      I think some people don’t like the fact that it’s done to tie in with Arthur Evans’ own vision of what it looked like. But it’s still really remarkable and definitely worth a visit. I hope you like it!

  5. Karla

    We walked around Knossus too. I know what you mean about the throne room. When we went it was so hot though so it got a bit tiring but we enjoyed nonetheless

  6. Kathrin

    I’m glad that you all had so much fun! I’ve never been to Crete, but I think it’s a very interesting place like the rest of Greece.

  7. Jackie

    An ancient palace discovered buried underground definitely ranks as a cool place to visit. That throne room looks incredibly intact for its age. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Marta

    My parents brought me to Crete when I was a child and I still remember it as a fantastic place: so much that I ended up studying ancient history for my college degree! I hope I can bring my kids there one day, I can see it’s still a great place for a family holiday

  9. Mar

    I love greek mythology! Could spend days visiting temples and ruins, something magical about so much history

  10. Kara

    I have been to Greece a few times but never visited Crete. Hope to go very soon – I think mine would love a day out here

  11. Dave from Daves Travel Pages

    Knossos is a lovely place to visit! I live in Greece now, and heard of the intended price rises for ancient monuments. The general feeling is that it is a massive step too far, and of course the most popular ones have the highest rises 🙁

    • Sarah Ebner

      I’m sure that’s true, but we all felt it was remarkably good value for tourists. Maybe residents should get in for cheaper and tourists should pay more?

  12. Kath

    What a impressive post written by a 10 year old! Sounds like a cool place to visit with kids, with all the mythology.

    • Robert

      It was really cool seeing all the stones and temples and I could definitely go again but maybe bring a few more bottles of water.

  13. Meg Jerrard

    So glad that you enjoyed your visit Robert! And I’m glad you didn’t find it boring in the end. I think the throne room would be my favorite too – crazy that the kind and Queen sat in different rooms, everything I had thought about royalty in history included their thrones in the same room! Thanks for the history lesson, really great post 🙂

  14. Himanshu

    Such places always fascinate me. And its always good to hire local guide as it adds value to the knowledge. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Christine

    I visited Crete with friends in my early 20s but at the time I wasn’t too interested in visiting historical monuments. I’d love to go back again now that I’m older and wiser!

  16. samiya selim

    We used to loved visiting ancient ruins and historical monuments when we lived in UK and travelled around Italy and other parts of Europe! Enjoyed reading this a lot Robert and pictures are great 🙂 Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard

  17. katja - globetotting

    The stories surrounding the Temple of Knossos are really interesting and I know that my kids would be fascinated by trying to find the pictures of the double headed axes. Although they would probably be less keen on the celebrations involving the 14-year-olds dying!! A great post, thanks!

  18. Anda

    I love ancient ruins and historical monuments and Greece is not short of any. You were very lucky to be able to take such a nice trip together, as a family. I liked your description and photos of Knossos, as well as your little movie from Crete.

  19. Oliver

    I would love to go to the ancient temple of Knossos, and I still can’t believe that you saw an ancient throne.

    • Robert

      It was so cool seeing the throne and the rest of the temple as well. There was so much history in one place.

  20. anthea

    I am so looking forward t taking my girls to Greece. One of them is really fascinated with history especially all the myths and legends around the Greeks

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