fun things to do with kids in iraklion knossos crete greece   Travel for Kids
Greece
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Iraklion (Heraklion) and Knossos

Iraklion
It's not instantly obvious that this busy, noisy city has such an ancient past, but when kids stand on the ramparts of the Venetian fort and look back at Iraklion, they can conjure up centuries of Minoans, Greeks, Romans, Saracens, Venetians, and Ottoman Turks sailing their ships into the old harbor.
 

Venetian Harbor – Start your day at the old port, where you'll want to walk around the Venetian Harbor to the seaside fortress, Castello del Molo. At the entrance to the fort, built by the Venetians in the 16th century, don't miss the Lion of St. Mark, symbol of Venice. Inside the fort, it's largely empty except for a few cannons, but climb up on the ramparts for a wonderful view of the harbor, Iraklion and the Sea of Crete. (Castle is closed on Mondays.) Or just relax and watch the fishing boats in the harbor.

      Right next to the harbor are the Venetian ship sheds, the Arsenali, now just the ruins. In the Arsenali, huge ships were constructed or repaired.
    Archeological Museum – The museum houses the exquisite archeological goodies from all over Crete – reconstructed frescoes from Knossos, figurines of the snake goddess, waving her snakes in the air, drinking vessel in shape of bull's head with golden horns, wild and wonderful pottery (get some ideas for clay class), little tiny carved cameos and gold jewelry.
    Morosini Fountain – No visit to Iraklion is complete without a visit to Platia Veneziou, an old plaza with a charming Venetian fountain in the center. Engineered in the 17th century, pipes brought water from a spring outside of town to this fountain, decorated with lions and dolphins.
      Stop into the café to try bougatsa, custard or cheese phyllo. Bougatsa, a specialty of Crete, is the perfect snack.
Knossos
  Palace of Knossos – The Minoans built the first spiffy palace in 1900 BC. When an earthquake knocked it down in 1700 BC, the Minoans built an even more magnificent multi-storied palace complex, with lavish living quarters, spacious courtyards, huge storage areas, pools, waterfalls, even bathrooms with running water. The palace was decorated with lively bright colored murals. Over the centuries, the palace was burned, rebuilt, and slowly covered up. In 1900, Arthur Evans started excavation, rebuilt parts of the palace and restored the wall paintings.
Knossos
    Today, the ruins of the Palace of Knossos is its own labyrinth – passageways, rooms, courtyards to explore, stairways to run up and down. Be sure to visit the Throne Room, with a kid's size throne and "griffin" frescoes on the wall. In the Queen's Megaron, the dolphin murals are exquisite. And check out the rows of huge storage jars – how many bottles of olive oil from the supermarket it would take to fill one of these storage jars?
      Tip: Don't go in the middle of the day, when it's the hottest. Bring your imagination. Although parts of the ruins have been restored, you'll have to fill in the rest.
kids books
     
The Palace of Minos at Knossos  
The Palace of Minos at Knossos
Chris Scarre and Rececca Stefoff

Archeological discovery of the Palace of Minos and excavations. In 1900, Arthur Evans uncovered the buried buildings at Knossos, the "lost palace." Find out what Evans discovered and how he restored the ruins, along with ongoing archeology at Knossos today. Fun for older kids. (Chapter book, illustrations)

 

(More children's books on other Greece pages)
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