Crete 2010

A bit late in the day, sorry, but my excuse is IT issues. Last month I went to Crete for some sunshine – and found it (unlike in Portugal). I stayed in Chania old town, on the western third of the island. Crete has been Greek only since 1913 and had a very colourful history before that:

• 3000 – 2800 BC Archaeological artifacts prove the existence of ancient Kydonia.
• 2800 – 1150 BC Minoan civilisation. Ancient Kydonia is one of the most powerful cities in Crete.
A cat examines Minoan excavations in Chania

1st millennium AD Kydonia prevails until the 7th century AD

• 823 – 961 AD Occupation by the Arabs
• 961 – 1252 AD Byzantine period
• 1252 – 1645 AD Occupation by the Venetians
Venetian inscriptions
Chania harbour: the subject of a million postcards and photographs
• 1645 – 1897 AD Occupation by the Turks (I could, but won’t, add photos of Islamic architecture here)
• 1898 AD Foundation of the Cretan State. Chania is the capital of Crete
• 1913 AD Unification of Crete with Greece

This eventful history continued with WW2 and the Battle of Crete, 1941 – scene of awful atrocities which are still clearly remembered as shown by this contemporary child’s artwork:

A Cretan meets a German paratrooper

However, the real aim of this trip was to do some walking in the White Mountains – a truly wild and undeveloped area. It is easy to see how resistance fighters could be so successful over the centuries. There is a climbing hut in this area though I did not see it.

The big walking tick in Crete is the descent of the Samaria Gorge and, although it can be expensive to get to, it is worthwhile – my one tip would be to make sure you leave very early (just after dawn) and are in the first half dozen people because hundreds and hundreds of tourists do this walk every day and it must be atrocious in crowds.

Samaria Gorge, early morning
There had been no rain since April
The gorge narrows to a few feet lower down
Not far to go - it's 16 km from the top to the beach
Abandoned village in the gorge

And some more general scenery from the mountains:

Mountain village
Another mountain view

And for me the highlight had to be the museum’s fragments of Linear A and Linear B script, the first time I had ever seen this other than in pictures. 🙂 🙂

Minoan writing - still not translated!