Our last day on Crete as we prepared to travel to Heraklion further to the East to visit the Minoan Capital, Knossos and to be taken through the Palace and to obtain an insight into that ancient culture. Before we left I was able to speak to one of the students on the ANZAC Youth Ambassadors Tour and to the leader of the Tour, Melanie Gibbons MP. This is a wonderful concept fully supported by ClubsNSW and it allows 6 students a year to travel overseas as Youth Ambassadors. This year they have travelled to Greece visiting Athens, Lemnos and Crete as part of the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Greece and Crete. They are moving on tonight to Paris for their visit to France and Belgium.
We arrived at Knossos and started our visit to the site. Quite a few of the buildings have been reconstructed from the various paintings that were found on this site and other sites. There is a continuing debate whether Arthur Evans should have reconstructed parts of the buildings or whether they should have been left. My thoughts are that the reconstructed buildings give an indication to the palace as it was, better than a pile of blocks.
Following our time at Knossos we boarded our coach and climbed out of the valley to visit the actual location where Patrick Fermor and William Moss, aided by a band of Greek Patriots, abducted the Commander of the German Forces on Crete, General Kreipe. After 20 days trudging through the wilderness the Group, less the Greeks, were picked up by Submarine and transported to Alexandria. For Kreipe, the War was over and maybe that abduction actually saved his life.
Leaving the heights above Heraklion, we headed back into Heraklion and were able to visit the Cultural Museum there before breaking for lunch. After lunch we went to the position that was occupied by and defended by the 2/4th Battalion, on and around the Charlies. The defence here was very fierce and the German parachutists were completely routed with much loss of life. One of our Group, Rox, was able to stand on the ground where her uncle Sgt Albert Mayer MID had served in A Company the 2/4th Battalion during that action.
On the position is a small church that has been rebuilt out of the rubble that was present at the time of the battle and some of the icons on the ceiling have recently been dated from the 13th Century. Father Nicholas has himself arranged this reconstruction even though there is no church hierarchy support. We enjoyed a drink there with him before saying goodbye.
Dinner followed before we boarded our ferry for the return to the mainland.