"" Writer's Wanderings: Iraklion, Crete, Greece

Saturday, October 07, 2023

Iraklion, Crete, Greece

In Acts chapter 27 there is a line that says, "There was a harbor in Crete facing both southwest and northwest." I don't know if the harbor at Iraklion is the harbor noted there but I am sure that Crete and especially Iraklion looks nothing like what Paul found there.

Iraklion is a busy city. That was obvious by looking out from the ship to the many buildings going up the side of the hill and spreading out from the port. We docked in a cargo port so for safety sake, there was a shuttle bus provided that took you from the ship to the terminal so you didn't have to dodge trucks. Once at the terminal, you were on your own unless of course you had an excursion.

Because the excursion to the Pyramids and the upcoming overnight excursion in Israel, our travel budget was stretched. We opted to strike out on our own to explore. I had found sites to see and some explanation of what they were but I could not download the Google Map I think I had saved somewhere. I did have a PDF listing of the sites but no way to tell where they were exactly and this city was not an easy one to navigate.

Finding the city center from the passenger terminal was easy however. We locked arms, gave a little skip and followed the yellow striped sidewalk. We opted not to sing.

Venetian Loggia/town hall

Just as the yellow line was about to turn into the city, there was an option to turn right instead and explore the old Venetian port built in the 14th century. It was a perfect morning for a long walk and the walk was getting longer with our little side adventure.

The old port was worth seeing though. Quite a large structure to explore. Inside there were several displays of cannons and of course cannon balls. Also there was a collection of clay vessels that were used back then for transporting goods. If I read the information correctly, a lot of what was brought up from a shipwreck was done so by Cousteau. It was difficult to read the information plagues as the lighting was not good and even taking a picture of the information to enlarge later didn't work.

Church of St. Titus

Once we were done climbing about, we found the yellow line again and went into the city center although it was hard to know exactly where that was. We guessed it was probably where the lion fountain was. 

From the fountain, we found the Venetian Loggia that has been renovated and made into the town hall. It's quite a beautiful building with an inner courtyard that it seems the birds love. We ducked and left.

The square the town hall sits on is called St. Titus Square because the St Titus church sits near there. We happened upon the church without realizing its significance. Titus was said to be the first bishop of Crete. In Titus 1:5, Paul tells Titus, "The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town as I directed you."

What we didn't expect to find was a room off to the side that was a chapel said to contain the skull of Titus. We assumed it was in the decorative large globe encased in glass. 

We searched for another cathedral that was supposed to be there but honestly, the roads and pathways were so confusing we got tired of looking and gave up. 

What we didn't see and Iraklion is famous for is the Knossos Palace. The palace dates back to 1380-1100 BC and was part of the Minoan civilization. The most fascinating thing associated with it however is the myth of the minotaur in the labyrinth of the palace. The Greek myth says there was a creature with the head of a bull and body of a man in an underground labyrinth. Theseus arrived in Crete and offered to kill the minotaur but then met the daughter of King Minos and fell in love. She feared he would not find his way out so she gave him a ball of string that he could unwind as he moved through the labyrinth and find his way back out. He killed the minotaur and followed the string back out to his love. Might be a great idea for those corn mazes this fall.

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