Our Tour of The Palace of Knossos
We entered the Palace from the main western entrance leading to the West Court, passing
the circular walled pits, known as 'Kouloures'. The purpose of these pits is unknown
although pieces of broken pottery and other household remains were found there.
The east side of the West Court shows the remains of the western facade of
the Palace. We entered the palace through the West Porch to the Corridor
of the Procession, named from the large fresco found here showing
full-size men and women. Most of the corridor has eroded away,
so a modern walkway leads to the South Propylaeum.
But we glanced over the side of the walkway to look down at the ruins of
the South House, built during the Palace's penultimate building phase,
and then on to the South Propylaeum. This was heavily restored by
Sir Arthur Evans together with its frescoes, probably a continuation
of those of the SW Columns Chamber. In addition we saw some of
the reconstituted pithoi, originally discovered in fragments.
The Great Staircase is largely a creation of Sir Arthur Evans' mind.
He imagined the upper storey as an Italian Renaissance feature,
hence the term 'Piano Nobile'.
On the right are some of the pithoi discovered on the Piano Nobile
with the sacred Horns of Consecration in background.
The Piano Nobile
Knossos is the only Minoan Palace in which multiple storeys have survived.
From the Piano Nobile we get spectacular views of the countryside, the hills
and mountains surrounding Knossos with views down to the river Kairotos.
There had been a second storey above the Piano Nobile, which when seen from the surrounding
hills would have made the whole complex seem even more spectacular than it appears today.
The now-open floor of the Piano Nobile overlooks the West Magazine complex,
a vast storage area holding hundreds of storage jars of commodities such as
grain and olive oil. Today the magazine complex has protective covering but
earlier photos reveal some of the magazines with restored pithoi in place.
Moving north along the West Wing we gathered on the site of the Upper
Hall of Ceremonies prior to entering the Hall above the Throne Room.
This Hall is adorned with 5 splendid columns and fresco reproductions, the
original frescoes being in the Heraklion Museum. These include the famous
'Bull-Leaping', the 'Ladies in Blue', and several other miniature frescoes
depicting outdoor scenes, exotic gardens, a blue bird and tame blue monkeys.
We came down the steps of the now-missing Stepped Portico
from the Piano Nobile to gather together prior to our
climactic visit to the Throne Room of King Minos.
The Throne Room of King Minos
Of all the rooms in the Palace of Knossos, this has always been regarded as the central and guiding theme of the whole Palace complex.
Sir Arthur Evans had long dreamed of finding evidence of a 'King' figure at Knossos and discovery of this room fulfilled this dream.
Ascribing it to the legendary King Minos has given the whole Bronze Age Cretan civilisation the term, 'Minoan', probably ever-lasting!
It has even resulted in the seat of the President of the International Court at the Hague being a copy of the King Minos throne. The walls of
the room were decorated with large frescoes and the presence of a 'lustral basin' was highly symbolic adding to the sacred nature of the room.
From the Throne Room our route took us back into the Central Court to start the second part of our Palace of Knossos Tour.
to The Palace Tour - 2
V15.1 - May 2015