The next stop on our trip was a visit even further back in time, to about 4,000 BC and the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete. This is the oldest recorded European civilization. The Palace of Knossos was the center of an ancient city (Heraklion) built about 3,700 years ago (around 1700 BC) and occupied by peoples we know very little about. We call them Minoan but we really do not know what they called themselves. Many symbols of the Bull from the Greek legend of Minotar have been found, Hence the term Minoan.
Some writings have been discovered but their meaning has not been cracked as yet. Sort of like the Rosetta Stone for the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.
The palace ruins are impressive and one wonders as to its beauty in its prime. The palace was built with huge cut stones, with no mortar like substance used. Some sections were partially rebuilt about 100 years ago by early archeologists.
Some interesting facts:
· The palace was 5 stories with hundreds of rooms, most quite small.
· Crete is earthquake prone and the palace construction reflects an attempt to minimize damage from earthquakes. It appears a massive earthquake did eventually doom the palace.
· The palace has the first know sewer system, a system that was part of the palace design as the sewer lines are under the building itself. And it was a better system than the Romans developed 1500 years later.
· Toilet were in use and connected to the sewer system. After use, water was poor into the toilet to wash away, well you know what.
· The queen's room indicates that make-up was used and there was sort of a vanity area. The beautiful frescoes show that the ladies used lipstick. (Frescoes photos coming in next blog.)
· The Palace even had an outdoor theatre!
Remarkable to trod on the same ground where folks were walking 6,000 years ago!! But why did these people vanish? How did such a “modern” civilization just disappear?