I love mythology, so when my parents asked me if I had some ideas about where we would go on our summer vacation, I told them I wanted to go to Greece.
This would be a great choice for everyone, they would enjoy the beauty and tranquility of Greek beaches, while I would get the opportunity to see ancient buildings and artifacts first hand.
They agreed with my way of thinking, and we were on a planning course for the summer. I had a little trouble deciding where I wanted to go and what to see, and if my parents would have fun. I decided on Crete because it has a lot of history and great beaches, and we would pass through Athens, so I wouldn’t miss out on seeing the cradle of democracy.
We wanted to avoid the crowds in the mid-season, so we settled on going in mid-September. Also, we got a really good deal for our destination. We stayed in Hersonissos, which is near the capital - Heraklion and is a really good base for exploring the island.
Places of Interest on Crete
By far, the biggest attraction on Crete is the Minoan palace named Knossos. According to some documents, it was the seat of King Minos, from whom the whole civilization got its name.
Minoan civilization is linked to a great number of myths in Greek mythology. It is the place where Zeus abducted Europa in the form of a bull. Daedalus and his son Icarus are also important, along with Theseus (but we'll get to that later). Bronze giant Talus and the Argonauts have also been linked to Crete.
Minoan civilization was very well developed. Its strategic location as the link between Europe, Asia, and Africa provided many treasures which enabled prosperity.
History of the Palace of Knossos
The palace of Knossos was built around 2000 BC and the myth about its architect goes like this. King Minos hired the Athenian architect, mathematician, and inventor - the famous Daedalus, who proceeded to build the palace. His design was so complex that everyone who went in alone, couldn’t get out without a guide.
Greek Myths Associated with Crete
In order to ensure that Daedalus wouldn't reveal the palace’s secrets, King Minos captured him, along with his son Icarus and held them locked away in the high tower. Dedalus, being the genius he is, designed wings made from wax and bird feathers for him and his son. They managed to escape their captor, but you probably know how this ends - Icarus got carried away with his ''power’’, flew too close to the Sun, crashed and burned… Great metaphor in any case.
Another myth is about the Labyrinth and the half-bull half-man creature called Minotaur. When you get to the site and see the ruins, you can guess why this myth came to be. It really does resemble a labyrinth. And you also probably know that Theseus beat Minotaur with the help of Ariadna.
Beaches of Crete
Even my parents enjoyed the site, and they are really not the history buff type. Just give them a sunbed, a cocktail, a nice view on the crystal clear sea, and they are happy as a girl scout selling cookies.
It is really fascinating to me how people come up with myths to explain the unknown. I also visited some other Minoan palaces, but they can’t really compare with Knossos.
So if you are interested in a vacation filled with beautiful beaches and rich history, Crete is the place to go!