Friday, April 12, 2013

Crete: Day 7 - The Land of the Labyrinth

The plan for the last day was to attempt to understand the ancient landscape near Gortyna and Phaistos and possibly locate the original Cretan Labyrinth Cave, or Lavyrinthos.  The exact location of this place is classified and has been essentially obscured by the authorities.  

This situation with the labyrinth has been documented in depth at http://www.labyrinthos.ch.  It is an esoteric subject and a bit controversial, but I find it fascinating, mostly because of the Minotaur, a truly evil, primal and frightening monster.  On this website, there exists this German WWII topographical map showing the exact location of the cave entrance.
Kriegskarte, 1942

The cave was used by the Wehrmacht to store ammunition.  So, I decided to investigate this location and took a few photos of the landscape for reference.
This photo was taken from the 292 m hilltop north of Kasteli.  I am reasonably certain that I was within .75 km of the entrance, but I couldn't persuade my partner to spend any more time on this rather preposterous, and slightly dangerous, mission.  When I return, however, I will know exactly where to go!

I chose Kamilari because it is near the archaeological sites of Phaistos and Gortyna, and also close to the labyrinth cave.

Next stop was the nearby archaeological ruins of Gortyna.
Trajan's Odeon, Gortyna
More Gortyna photos here. Then up to Phaistos.  Phaistos photos here
Phaistos
Then to the Phaistos' ancient port of Komos.
Komos
Finally, ending the excursion in the hip village of Matala.
Heavy seas, Matala
A place of legend.  This could have been the very location where Menelaus ships were thought to have been wrecked as told by Homer in The Odyssey.   What an epic trip!

We also went to the Museum in Heraklion before the flight on Tuesday.  Here are several images.
Head of Pan, Gortyna
Nymph holding a basin, Gortyna 1st C.
Phaistos Disc, 1600 BC
Flask, 1600 BC
More Heraklion museum photos here.

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