Archaeological Museum of Chania

Chania, Crete, Greece, 19 October 2018.

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We are in the Archaeological museum of Chania, located inside the former Venetian Monastery of St Francis and housing Minoan and Roman artefacts.  It is not clear when the building was constructed but it was recorded as surviving the earthquake of 1595.  It became a mosque during the Ottoman occupation, then for a while a storehouse for military equipment and a museum in 1962.  In 2000 it closed and in 2022 a new and larger modern museum opened outside the city centre.

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At the end of the main hall we see mosaics and statues.

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Roman mosaic featuring Dionysus and Ariadne.

This is the first large mosaic on the floor in the previous image.  Obviously, I couldn’t take it from above and I didn’t quite allow enough to get the whole mosaic circle in after correcting for perspective.

Dionysus is the Roman god of wine and festivity.  Ariadne is a mythological Minoan princess who helped Theseus escape from the labyrinth, was later abandoned by him and subsequently married Dionysus.

Dionysus is depicted between two satyrs, his companions in hedonism, one of whom is Selinus.  It demonstrates the moment he found Ariadne sleeping on the foreshore of the Island of Naxos, after she was abandoned by Theseus.

The mosaic was found near the market square of Chania in 1977.  It is from the second half of the 3rd century AD.

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The mosaic further on in the main hall.

It shows Poseidon rescuing Amymone after she was attacked by a satyr.  From mid third century and found in 1937.  It was in the central dining room of an ancient private house.

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Another mosaic in a side chamber.

It is described as showing Dionysus on a panther followed by a satyr.  I can see the satyr but not the panther.  From 3rd century AD and found in 1977.

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Out the back, this must be a Venetian lion dismembered by the Ottomans or maybe by an earthquake.

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Late Minoan III (1650 to 1600BC) bath tub used as a coffin.

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Minoan liquid container, presumably for water or wine.

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In the back garden again.

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A remarkable succulent growing up a wall.

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I don’t have a description for this but I presume it is Minoan.

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Marble vase from Elyros, near Sougia, 3rd century BC.

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Marble vases from Elyros, near Sougia, 3rd century BC.

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Clay vase from Elyros, near Sougia, 3rd century BC.

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Clay pyxis from Chamber tomb at Aptera (near Chania).  Late Minoan IIIB 1300-1250BC.

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Jewellery of the Hellenistic period (end of 4th to 3rd century BC).

Found in the cemetery of ancient Kydonia (modern Chania), for a dead woman to wear in the afterlife.

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The Presentation of the Virgin Mary Holy Metropolitan Church.

There was a small church here from the 11th century.  Later, the Venetians demolished it for a warehouse.  Under the Ottomans it became a soap factory until 1850 when it was donated to the Christians.  In the late nineteenth century it became the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Chania, which was then the capital of Crete.

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This is above the central door you see in the previous image.

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Inside the Cathedral.

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A panel inside the Cathedral.

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Archaeological excavation of Ancient Kydonia.  Settlement occurred from late Neolithic around 3000BC through Minoan, Greek and Roman to 365AD when Kydonia was levelled by an earthquake.  What we see here is for the late Minoan period around 1450BC.

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Chania Harbourside

Chania, Crete, Greece, 19 October 2018.

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Looking across Chania Harbour.

We’d arrived the previous evening after driving from Sougia (previous post) and were staying nearby in the old city.

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Giali Tzami (Mosque of the Seaside), taken from the same spot.

This was the first mosque built in Chania, in 1649, shortly after the Ottoman takeover.  After the last Moslems left in 1923 (following the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922), it became first a museum and then an art gallery.

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Chania lighthouse.

The original lighthouse was built by the Venetians between 1595 and 1601.   It was destroyed in1645 after the Ottoman takeover.  It was rebuilt by Egyptian troops under the Ottoman Empire in 1864, upon the original base.  Crete had been run by Mohammed Ali of Egypt from 1830 to 1840, during the time when he had built an empire inside the Ottoman Empire.

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Street musicians.

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The Firka Fortress.

It was built in 1629 by the Venetians to protect the harbour from invaders such as the Ottomans who turned up in 1645.  A chain could be raised across the harbour mouth from the fortress to the lighthouse.

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A submarine in Chania Harbour?

No, not really but you can go inside it and view underwater through glass windows.

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Harbour wall and a glass-bottom boat.

My guess is that there were cannons on the wall and the small building was the ammunition store.

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Elegant harbour-side transport.

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A reflection in the water (you probably worked that out).

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Walking beside the Neoria or dockyards.

The Neoria were for maintenance of ships.  There is a long history of such structures and there were similar ones in Carthage for example.  The first ones were built by the Venetians in 1204, when Venice occupied Crete following the Latin conquest of Byzantium during the Fourth Crusade.  By 1607 there were twenty-two Neoria.  This row of seven survive, plus another single one further west.

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Is it a fishing boat or a street market?

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View across a flotilla of moored small boats to the Neoria.

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Another elegant harbour-side transport, this time with a female driver aged maybe eight.

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Minaret and bell tower behind the Neoria.

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Harbour-side views.

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A view of the lighthouse from walking along the harbour wall (there was no entry).

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Looking back along the harbour wall.

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Walls with perhaps many stories to tell.

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Boats and Neoria.

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Fishing boat and nets.

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The Grand Arsenal of Chania.

This is a long building because it was originally one of the Neoria, built around 1585.  It was converted to a conventional building in the mid nineteenth century and a second floor added in 1872.  It was damaged by German bombing in the Second World War and reconstructed in 2002.  It is now the Centre of Mediterranean Architecture and  hosts events, conferences, theatrical performances, workshops and concerts.

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The pseudo-submarine at the harbour mouth.

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The water in the harbour is surprisingly clear.

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A last look at the lighthouse….
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Sougia to Chania

Sougia to Chania, Crete, Greece, 18 October 2018.

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This post covers our journey from Sougia to Chania in Western Crete.

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The first images are from the road from Sougia to Palaiochora.

There are many layers here, terraces, occupied and unoccupied rural buildings.

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A residence in a rocky landscape that recedes into the fog.

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Perhaps a monastery and a bell tower.

I suspect it is too substantial for just a church.  There is also some terracing visible, probably for crops.

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A distant church on a remote peak.

This image and the next are close to Palaiochora.  The previous three were close to Sougia.

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Side road and tree.

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This is the point of the peninsula at Palaiochora.

It is taken from the beach at the road from Sougia.  There is a harbour round the other side of that point.

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Extension of the previous shot, panning to the right.

Not sure why I didn’t make them join up to a panorama.

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Zooming in, the Venetian fort atop the town.

It was built in 1278, destroyed in 1332, rebuilt in 1334, destroyed in 1539, rebuilt in 1595 and destroyed some time before 1834.

During the Second World War, there was a battle between German motorcycle reconnaisance troops and a Greek regiment with some Cretan Gendarmes.  The Germans built gun emplacements in the fort that are still visible today.

We intended to visit the fort but couldn’t find any parking nearby.  So, being concerned not to turn up too late to our accommodation in Chania, we kept driving.

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A small village on a strategic ridge with a church, a graveyard and a number of buildings.

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A house and a small church.

This is also visible in mid right of the previous image.  There is a man, a utility and a small flock of sheep.  there is also a very small village in the background, some of which appears relatively new.

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Back at the village on the ridge, here is a duplex half occupied and half ruined.

The occupied half includes a spiral staircase up to a small roof balcony.

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A church overlooking an ancient coastline.

However, the buildings on the point are not ancient.  They are perhaps holiday homes for wealthy residents of Chania, with several swimming pools visible.

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Not everyone is affluent.

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This is a rocky and impoverished part of Crete where most of the young people have left to find employment and there are many derelict houses.  in real estate parlance, renovators’ dreams.

Western Crete has probably been remote for a long time.  I don’t know how close they were to these villages, but somewhere in the mountains of Western Crete was a group of Communists who held out twenty years after the civil war had finished in mainland Greece.

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Lots of interesting detail.  People live in some buildings while other buildings erode away.

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At first sight, someone is using this decaying building for their daily garage.

However, the van is not going anywhere fast.  Its wheels are covered in sacks and the rear window is covered in dust.

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It’s almost like a modern archaeological site.

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An olive farm on the skyline.

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The last two images are somewhere near the north-west corner of the island.

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Sougia and Syia

Lissos to Sougia and Syia, Crete, Greece, 17 October 2018.

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Captain George to the rescue!

Here we are still in Lissos, the ancient ruined Minoan, Greek, Roman and Byzantine city from the last post, watching the arrival of our sea transport to return to Sougia.  There was a sign onshore giving a phone number and saying he would be there in ten minutes.

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A view of the cliffs from the boat on the journey back.

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Sougia in the distance, taken with a very long lens.

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If there’s an earthquake, I think you don’t want to be under this cliff.

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Probably only the hardiest of trees can survive here.

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A lone tree against the horizon.

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We’re back in Sougia now. 

This may be a view from where we were staying.  There is a swimmer in the water and a ship on the horizon.

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We went for a walk around Sougia and discovered traces of the ancient city of Syia.

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A very old olive tree, probably with a net for olives wrapped around it.

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These are Roman tombs.

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Though Syia was a Minoan port, the excavated ruins are Roman and early Byzantine. 

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Much is still yet to be excavated.

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There is apparently an aqueduct outside town visible from the road.  There are also ruins of Roman buildings and three large early Christian Basilicas.  There is more there than we saw at the time.

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Remains of an ancient wall.

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Another stone circle, similar to the one we saw at Lissos.

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Lissos

Lissos, Crete, Greece, 17 October 2018.

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Panagia Chapel.

The last image in the last post showed the coastline of Lissos Valley, with this chapel just visible  near the sea.  This image is from the route in, and taken from at same position as that previous image, but with a long telephoto instead of a wide angle lens.

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Roman tombs in the necropolis on the far side of the hill.

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An ancient ruined house, probably from the Roman period.

Lissos was a Minoan, Greek, Roman and Byzantine city until it was destroyed by Arabs who invaded from Spain in the 820s and occupied Crete until they were driven out by the Byzantines in 961.  It was one of the two ports of the Dorian city of Elyros (further inland) along with Syia (the ancient name for Sougia).  It was the only city on this part of the South Coast to issue its own coinage.

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Temple of Asklepios.

This image and the next three is at the Temple of Asklepios, built in the 2nd or 3rd century BC.  Dedicated to the God of Medicine, people came here in ancient times to partake of the healing properties of its springs.  It was destroyed by an earthquake which covered it with rocks from the cliffs above and also partly preserved it.  When it was excavated in the 1950s many statues were recovered and marbke floors revealed.

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The Church of Agios Kyrikos.

This is a 14th century church, not the same as the one near the coast we saw earlier.  (And Agios Kyrikos is not to be confused with Nicholas Kyrgios, not the same at all).

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The view inside.

It looks as though I missed an opportunity to examine the paintings on the left hand wall, which probably come from the original church in the 6th century AD.  However, I suspect access may have been restricted to the back of the church.

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Ruined house nearby.

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There are quite a few fragments of ruined houses, many from the Roman era.

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Stone circle of unknown provenance (unknown to me at any rate).

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There is also much that is yet to be excavated.

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Unsurprisingly, there are many ancient olive trees.

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The patterns of the bark can be compelling….

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On the western side of the valley there is an extensive Roman Necropolis with many small chambers (now empty).

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Panagia Chapel.

Here we are now at Panagia Chapel, that we saw on the first image of this post and the last image of the previous one.  It is also a 14th century chapel  but incorporates some ancient Greek marble.

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The view inside.

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Ruined buildings near the chapel.

The holes may be for beams of the floor, cast out of alignment by an earthquake.

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An ancient olive tree, now barely surviving.

In the next post we return to Sougia and also check out the archaeological site of Syia.

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Sougia to Lissos

Sougia to Lissos, Crete, Greece, 17 October 2018.

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This post covers a walk from the village of Sougia, on the south west coast of Crete, to the site of the ancient Roman town of Lissos in a neighbouring valley, taking about 90 minutes.

There’s been a gap in posts while I have been in Far North Queensland.  I will finish posting on Crete with seven to nine posts on Western Crete, plus a few mono posts of Crete.  There will also be a live music post in the middle of those.  The rest of that trip (to Andalusia, Barcelona, Oregon and Washington) will then have to wait while I cover the trip to Far North Queensland.  

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This is from the western end of the beach at Sougia.  If you click for a larger image, you will be able to see the umbrellas at the far end of the beach.

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There is also a World War II gun emplacement and a rusted anchor.

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A small church set back from the beach.

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The tiny harbour of Sougia.  There must have been a harbour here for thousands of years.

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Another miniature roadside shrine.  This one has a photograph of the person it is dedicated to.  In view of the location he was likely lost at sea.

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We have now started on the walk to Lissos.

Here is an abridged description of the walk from the site sougia.info:

“The walk starts at the harbour of Sougia. Whilst passing there, note the ancient water line which is clearly visible in the cliff, about 7 meters above the present sea level. This sudden elevation happened about 1500 years ago in western Crete.”  (Note: you can see that waterline behind the harbour in the earlier image.)

“At the entrance of the small gorge, a fence must be opened (& closed afterwards) and after clambering over a smooth rock you get on the path leading to Lissos.  After following the path in the shade of pine trees for about half an hour you will pass an impressive smooth cliff overhanging the trail. Ten minutes later the path veers off to the left and starts climbing up the hill. The good path up the hills then leads through old pine trees to a treeless plateau with good views all around. After ten more minutes walking straight towards the West you arrive at a steep drop with beautiful views of Lissos. Lissos is like a bowl of vegetation fields and terraces leading to the sea.”

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Some of the trees grow in unlikely places.

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(Most of the images in this post require no description).

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This is not a wild goat.  He has a collar.

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We are now overlooking the mouth of the valley where Lissos is.  Perhaps you may need to click on the image for a larger view but Panagaia Chapel is in the middle near the sea and a small boat is behind it, offering a passenger service.  We discover we may not need to walk back.  The chapel is made using materials recycled from the ancient Roman town and has several carved marble blocks in its walls.

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FrangoKastello to Sougia

Matala to Hora Sfakion, Crete, Greece, 16 October 2018.

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The previous post, for the first part of the journey for the day, finished at Hora Sfakion.  Next we drove the short distance to FrangoKastello, then the rest of the journey to Sougia.  This involved a long detour to the north (see map in previous post) because there is no road along the south coast there.

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Notwithstanding the name, FrangoKastello is a Venetian castle.  The locals called it the Castle of the Franks as a somewhat sardonic reference to the foreign religion of their overlords (Roman Catholic) and the name stuck.

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It was built from 1371 to 1374 to provide protection from pirates and the frequently rebelling locals.

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FrangoKastello was last renovated by the Venetians in 1645, shortly before it was taken by the Ottomans.

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In 1770, the Cretan rebel Ioannis Vlachos occupied FrangoKastello but later he was captured by Ottomans and executed.

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In 1828, a group of locals and Greeks from Epirus occupied the castle as part of an attempt to spread the Greek War of Independence to Crete.  They lost a fierce battle and were massacred.  The Ottomans subsequently suffered many losses in ambushes by the locals but they stayed.

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After the 1828 events, the castle was destroyed so it could not be used in subsequent independence actions, but it was later rebuilt.

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The last period of reconstruction and reuse was during the Cretan Revolution of 1866-69.

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Items found on the site have included Venetian ceramic vessels, mainly from the 15th century, coins, swords, and a lead seal of the Doge of Venice Lenardius Donato (1605-1612).

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Looking up inside one of the towers.

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The cars may have been left here by the Venetians during the construction of the castle in the fourteenth century.  I was not able to confirm this at the time.

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An ancient fortress visible from the road.  Due to the absence of gun ports I would guess Byzantine.

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Looking down on farmland from the same location.

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We are now in Vryses where we stopped for a coffee.

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It’s possible some of the buildings may not be newly constructed.

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This is the town centre.

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We are now heading south on the road from near Chania to Sougia and it is getting very late in the afternoon.

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. Architecture, Crete, Frangokastello, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Vryses

A church and buildings in the shadow of a valley.

. Architecture, Crete, Frangokastello, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Vryses .

. Architecture, Crete, Frangokastello, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Vryses .

. Architecture, Crete, Frangokastello, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Vryses .

. Architecture, Crete, Frangokastello, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Vryses

A cemetery by a chapel perched on the side of a cliff near Epanochori.

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Architecture, Crete, Frangokastello, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Vryses

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I’m currently travelling in North Queensland.  I prepared this post before I left.  So far I’m too tired at night to process any images and my guess is there will be no more posts for a while, until say the second week in August..

North Queensland Itinerary 2022

8 to 29 July 2022.

(Click maps for a larger size if they are too small to see).
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Jools and I are flying north to North Queensland tomorrow for three weeks. You would think this would be quite a change from the currently cold climate of Canberra and for the most part it will be, though in these times of unusual weather, Laura looks like being much the same as Canberra.  We attempted this journey in 2021 but had to bail out when we got caught in a COVID lockdown in Brisbane for a week and the ACT Government advised all travellers to return.

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In 2021 we flew north to Brisbane to stay with friends for a few days and had intended to fly on to Cairns (as shown above).  This time, we fly straight to Cairns and back.  The itinerary up there is very similar but we are taking more time this time and there are a couple of additions.

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From Cairns, we drive south to the Atherton Tablelands, staying in a small village and then in rainforest near Lake Eacham and Craters Lakes National Park.  We expect to visit Cathedral Fig Tree, Lakes Eacham and Barrine, Yungaburra, Curtain Fig National Park, Atherton, Hasties Swamp National Park (bird hide), Herberton, Mt Hypipamee National Park, Ravenshoe, Tully Gorge Lookout and Millaa Millaa waterfalls.  We also expect to visit the Art Deco town of Innisfail and various waterfalls and nature sites along the way.  This is not shown on the map which I haven’t updated it since last time but it’s a loop down to the coast, starting from Millaa Millaa and meeting up with the road from Cairns to Atherton where it goes inland.  You can see it if you click the map for a larger view. 

Wildlife we hope to encounter includes striped possums, platypodes (the correct plural of platypus since the word derives from Greek not Latin) and tree kangaroos.  Tree kangaroos may be elusive though.

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We then drive to Laura where we stay overnight and join a camping excursion for Aboriginal rock art over three days and two nights.  We next drive to Cooktown where we stay for several days and join another Aboriginal rock art tour on the last morning.

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After Cooktown, we drive to Mossman Gorge where we stay for two nights.  Next is an early morning wildlife cruise on the Daintree River, then we head to Daintree National Park, where we stay for a few days at Cape Tribulation.  The rainforest here comes down to the sea and we may encounter a cassowary. 

Next we drive down to Kuranda, in the hills near Cairns and stay overnight.  The next day we drive back down the hill then take a cablecar back up to Kuranda and come down again in a small train.  Then we have a day or two in Cairns including a day trip to Fitzroy Island (where I visited in 1987 taking pictures of lighthouses).  Finally we catch our plane back to Canberra.

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I am planning to take both just Fuji photographic equipment.  In the abandoned trip in 2021 I also had Nikon for long telephoto and wildlife.  The penalty for that change is that the autofocus of my cameras will not be nearly as good for birds in flight (a new Fuji camera is, but It’s not available yet) and I will not have as much capacity to compose loosely and crop down (eg for wildlife which may move unpredictably).  The advantage is about 3 kilos less weight and a long lens easier to hand hold.

I will have Fuji X-T2, X-E4 and X-T2 IR cameras, together with 4mm f2.8 fisheye, 8-16mm f2.8, 14mm f2.8, 23mm f2, 35mm f1.4, 56mm f1.2, 80mm f2.8 macro, 70-300mm f4-5.6 and 200mm f2 lenses and a 1.4x TC.  My photographic pack will be about 11 kg which is fine.  Jools will  have an X-E4 and a 18-135mm lens and will be able to borrow the 70-300mm when I am using the  200mm for wildlife.

There’s a complication with selecting lenses for infrared because some produce a “hot spot” or bright flared area in the centre of the image.  So I could have taken the 27mm instead of the 23mm and 35mm but it’s not good for infrared.  The 8-16mm is only good for infrared at f2.8 so I took the 14mm as well, the 80mm macro is no good for infrared and the 200mm is only good at f4 and below but I have the 70-300mm. 

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I may find time for some temporary posts while travelling and will in time include below links for all posts I make from this trip.  In the meanwhile I have one more post to release from Crete and will resume posts from that trip later. 

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Here are links to the Brisbane posts from the 2021 trip:

Brisbane posts:

Links to North Queensland 2022 posts to appear here….

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Matala to Hora Sfakion

Matala to Hora Sfakion, Crete, Greece, 16 October 2018.

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(Click on any image to see it in a larger size, if you are on a PC or tablet at least.)

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The map shows the journey for the day, from Matala at bottom right to Sougia at the left.  There are two posts for this though and this post covers the journey from Matala to Hora Sfakion.

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Another of the wonderful miniature roadside shrines.

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Modern church against a dramatic landscape.

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Curious structure on a hill.  Probably not ancient.

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Village from the road at a distance.

Much of the early part of this trip was off the main road in the mountains of the interior.  Some of it made for an interesting driving experience.  The approach to one village included a road on the walls of a small valley for several hundred metres with only one lane, no passing bays and blind corners.  Fortunately I encountered no other traffic there.

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Another, larger village across a valley from a greater distance.

In another, the road through a village was so narrow that villagers had to step into doorways to let us go by.  A video camera inside the windscreen might have recorded some interesting sequences.

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Four goats beside the road.

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A village and its church.

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We stopped for petrol here and this is a church across from the petrol station.

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A distant church on top of a hill.

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A ruined castle.  It has gun ports, so not Byzantine and probably Venetian.

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Another remote church on the same ridge as the castle.

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Another village and its church.

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I think this has to be Byzantine.  It is from the church in the next image.

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Ancient church in Kardaki described (in Greek) in Google Maps as “Holy Temple”.

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The remote interior.

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Kotsifou Canyon.

I marked this on the map not because of its significance but because I photographed the road sign so can identify where it is.

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Not far after Kotsifou Canyon, this is a distant view of Plakias on the south coast.

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We are now in Hora Sfakion and at the back of the town there are old buildings in a variety of states of disrepair.

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Inside this cave is the tiny Church of St Anthony.  We didn’t go up to have a look and I think there was a sign at the bottom saying closed.

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This is why we came here – to have lunch in a picturesque seaside location.

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… and the old buildings provided additional interest.

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There is a second beach a bit further along.

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And the narrow streets offer a challenge for truck drivers.

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The village prospered during Venetian and Ottoman occupations and must have once been much larger as it is claimed it once had a hundred churches (which probably just means many).  During World War II though, it was the point of evacuation of allied forces to Egypt and was heavily damaged by German bombing which may still be the cause of the state of many of the derelict buildings.

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. Architecture, Crete, Greece, History, Hora Sfakion, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Ruins of a Venetian fortress.

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The commercial port, not the one where we had liunch.

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Phaestos

Phaestos, Crete, Greece, 15 October 2018.

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(Click on any image to see it in a larger size, if you are on a PC or tablet at least.)

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Archaeology, Architecture, Crete, Greece, History, Kaloi Limenes, Landscape, Phaestos, Photography, Street photography, Travel

This was our route of travel for the day.  From Matala we drove to the Acropolis of Gortyn and Gortyn (previous post), then to Phaestos and briefly to Kaloi Limenes and back to Matala (this post).

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Just before Phaestos, we encountered the Church of Agios Georgios Phalandras.   It looks like two buildings combined but the left half is just an empty facade.  What you can see through that doorway is just the ground beyond.

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You can see this from the rear.  It was built in the 16th century, in the Venetian period.  The intended second aisle was never completed so two arches intended to connect the two were quickly walled up.

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Tombs of eminent persons from the Venetian period were found both inside and around it.  It was originally connected to a monastery founded in the 10th century and fell into disuse after 1821.

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The curiously asymmetrical window at the rear of the church.

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We are now in the Northwest Court in the ancient Minoan “Palace” of Phaestos.

Bull-leaping is believed to have occurred here, though I didn’t notice any happening when we were there.

Phaestos is on top of a hill with commanding views.  Its construction involved the enormous effort of levelling three large terraces.  Its prime importance is as one of the main Minoan “palaces” and it has been suggested that the Old Palace at Phaestos was the oldest “palace” in Minoan Crete.  Settlement goes back even further, to neolithic times six thousand years ago and there is a neolithic kiln on the site.

According to legend, it was founded by Minos himself and the first ruler was his brother Radamanthys.  It appears to have been mainly a religious, political and ceremonial centre and the nearby city of Agia Triadha, down on the plain below, was more of a commercial centre and became much larger.

The Old Palace was built in the Protopalatial Period (1900-1700BC) and twice destroyed by earthquake.  Attempts to rebuild as the New Palace started 1750-1700BC but the “palace” was effectively abandoned 1650-1500BC and only completed 1500-1450BC, shortly before the Mycenaean invasion.

As we saw in the previous post for Gortyn, that city was founded from Phaestos in the Minoan Period, became more important during the Greek period and became the capital of Crete, Libya and Egypt during the Roman period. It eclipsed Phaestos by about 700BC and defeated and sacked it.  Some settlement continued in Phaestos in the Roman era but it never regained its influence.

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The Upper Court.

The upper court functioned as a kind of balcony to view proceedings in the Northwest Courtyard.  Though most of the “palace” is Minoan, some of the remains of walls here date from the Greek period.

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The Grand Staircase (leading to the Propylaea).

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The Propylaea.

This was the central and most impressive entrance to the New Palace.  The circular stub in front was the basis of a column at the start of a large two-storey building and entrance.

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The Theatral Area.

The Theatral Area and the West Court it forms part of date from the Old Palace era 1900-1700BC.  it was an important processional and ceremonial area.

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West Magazines.

These are store rooms for goods, primarily goods for export.

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One of the Giant Pithoi.

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Ancient road and remains of adjacent buildings.

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One of the four Kouloures.

At the south end of the West Court there are four large round structures known as kouloures (rings) that date to the Old Palace period.  Thye are thought to be for storing offerings from the Palace Shrines, or granaries.

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A different one beside a road.

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More pithoi.

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Part of the East Wing Complex.

This is a miniature version of the “Royal Apartments” and has been interpreted as the residence of a young prince.

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The Central Court.

This dates to the old Palace period.  It is a feature of every Minoan Palace, surrounded by buildings for which it provides light and air.

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View of the plain below.

We can see something of the spectacular view from Phaestos.  Somewhere in the distance to the left was the city of Agia Triadha, which became the local administrative centre after the earthquake around 1700BC.

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Part of the East Court.

Around the East Court was a complex of small rooms which provided the workshops for the New Palace.  This included a kiln.

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The Northeast Complex.

This is a complex of four rooms on the north-eastern side of the Palace.  Although it does not belong to the Old Palace, it was here that the Phaistos disk was found.  This is a round clay tablet with spirals of hieroglyphic script on each side.  The hieroglyphs were individually pressed in so it is the first known example of printing.  While the script has not been deciphered, a partial interpretation is possible due to similarities with characters used in linear A and linear B.  It appears to be a religious text, perhaps a chant, concerning the Mother Goddess..

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King’s Megaron.

This is known as the King’s Megaron or King’s Bedroom, although of course the nature of any Minoan political or religious hierarchy is unknown.

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Queen’s Megaron.

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We’re almost full circle now.  We are at the edge of the Northwest Court, the foreground structures are likely part of the Propylon, and the East Court is in the distance.

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From nearby, looking in a different direction, but I’m not sure at what.

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Back full circle now, looking over the Northwest Courtyard.

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Near Phaestos, I presume this is a ruined farmhouse from relatively modern times.

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From Phaestos, we headed south for a brief visit at the port of Kaloi Limenes.

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The village on the beach is quite small.

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The rocks are glowing in the late afternoon light.

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Heading back towards Matala now.   This appears to be an old church not far from the road.

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A village on the other side of the valley in the late afternoon light.

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Another small roadside shrine.  There appears to be a bench or a bed inside on the right.

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From a different angle, we can see some bells inside.

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Not far from Matala now, in the late afternoon light.  You may need to click on this image to see it larger.

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