Within one month after the news that the Archaeological Museum in Iraklio will remain closed in 2008, and the next year, and probably the one after that, I have more unpleasant news for you ancient history buffs.
The most important archaeological site in Crete, the oldest in Europe, and second only to the Acropolis in Athens in attracting visitors, the Palace of Knossós, south of Iraklio, will close every day at 15:00 until further notice.In practical terms this means that after 14:00 you will have trouble buying a ticket. According to the warden, Nikos Papadakis, this is due to staff shortages and state negligence. “We are only human, we can’t work continuously in double shifts”, he claimed in the local newspaper Nea Kriti.
Many tourists come to Crete on a short stop-over from the mainland or one of the traditional island holiday destinations just to visit the Palace of Knossós and the Archaeological Museum. They will merely encounter closed gates and indifference. So far for your burning desire to visit “the cradle of our civilization”.
Not to worry though, consider this a magnificent opportunity to go see The Other Palace, the one of King Minos’ brother, Radamanthis, in Phaestos. I personally like Phaestos a lot more than Knossós. It has far less reconstruction than Knossós (I hate the concrete that sir Evans applied so liberally), which leaves more to the imagination. And with a bit of luck you have the p(a)lace to yourself…