Knossos Palace

The Palace at Knossos, Crete is very old, but the legends are even older. Perhaps you have heard of the mythical Minotaur and the labyrinth where he was kept? Not much remains of the palace. Some excavation has been done and recreation to give a sense of how it looked when a large civilization lived in this area.

It is all downhill to the sea

and uphill to the sun in the south

When I visited in May of 2016, it was not evident to me that this palace was neither fortified nor on the highest point of land around. Looking at the pictures you can see the higher hills in the background. The hills are their source of gypsum and limestone. To the north, only 5 kilometres downhill, is the major port of Heraklion. 
Water for the community came from springs in the hills above and was used to “flush” wastes down the hill, away from the city, to the river and port below.

water reservoir

restored unique columns

Unlike most support columns, these are smaller at the bottom than at the top. The wiki explanation for this is that unlike stone columns, these were made of cypress tree trunks and were used upside down so that they would not sprout. Did you know that?

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colourful frescos

bright colours were everywhere.

colour pigments were from local natural elements and plants

The “crown jewel” of this Knossos Palace is the Throne Room. Although there were probably many similar rooms, this is the best preserved excavated to this point. Notice the gryphons on the wall laying and facing the throne.

Throne room

adjacent to the throne room

Food was stored in these Pithoi and buried in the ground with only the tops accessible. They were excavated and put on display to show their size and beautiful decoration.

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the Pithoi were decorated and buried

Shade from the hot sun is welcome. Could they be solar panels?

The museum is surrounded by the city of Heraklion. The museum is isolated from the city by the hills and a buffer garden which shows the local beauty.

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spring growth

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Heraklion is the capital city of Crete.

It is also the largest city on the island and has museums and ruins showing the history of humanity in this part of the world. The following pictures were taken in May of 2016 and give a glimpse of the port through a telephoto lens. (some of the photos are part of a gallery of two or three pictures that cycle a few seconds apart.)

The harbour serves all sizes of watercraft, from cruise ships, tankers, containerships, ferry boats, small sailboats and rubber zodiacs.

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In Venetian times, the port was guarded by this fortress, Castello a Mare. Possibly built as early as the 9th century by the Arabs, it has been repaired and rebuilt many times. The current fort goes back to 1540 and was overtaken by the Ottomans in 1669.  –

Venitian Fort guards the harbour.

Castello a Mare

Google Earth satellite view of the island.

In the map above, Heraklion is on the centre of the northern coast. Today it is more commonly spelt Iraklion, just as spelt is more commonly spelt “spelled”. In earlier times it was called various forms of the word Candy, Candia and the like.  –

satellite view of port and airport.

Enlarging the port area of the map, the fortress is on the left, guarding the tiny inner harbour. Today the main defence is the breakwater that protects the ships in the harbour.  The cruise ship was docked about one-third of the way across, to the left of the wide container dock. On the right is the international airport, about 5 kilometres away.

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On the top of one of the hills is this curious structure that looks like a giant golf ball. It is possibly radar for the airport or water storage for the town. Can you imagine taking a golf driver to it? Try to not hit any aeroplanes.

Golf anyone?

Heraklion is a hub for many ferry lines that connect the other Greek ports on the islands and the mainland.

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I am ready for a visit to nearby Knossos Palace. Look for more picture from there.

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In Canada, there are many ways to contribute to life and feed a family. In a previous post, gardening and railroad services were shown. Here are a few more depicted in the art of Mosaicultures International de Montreal.

East coast lobster fishing

West coast panning for gold.

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In the north, life on the tundra is hard, with long winter nights and long summer days. Dance to warm your spirits and to warm your body. In the central forests, logging is important to providing lumber for homes in the south.

taking a break

trapping and trading

The land has been bountiful, and careful management of the resources is the responsibility of all.

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Hockey, one of our national sports.

Don’t forget to take the time to play, dance, have fun, and travel. Maybe you can visit Gatineau Quebec to see these flowering sculptures for yourself.

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Gatineau 2017

MosaiCanada 150

On the east shore of the Ottawa River, in the province of Quebec, across from the city of Ottawa, is the city of Gatineau. It shares the civic and political offices and duties of the Canadian capital. At the base of the Alexandra Bridge connecting the two cities, in the Jacques Cartier Park is a very special exhibit celebrating the 150th birthday of Canada. The exhibit is called MosaiCanada150 and is a spectacular garden like you have probably never seen before.

All aboard!

The garden was created by Mosaicultures Internationales de Montreal.

Entry to the park is through the train station. Inside the park, you will see a replica of the train that was the first to carry passengers from Montreal to Vancouver. This symbolized the connection of the country from coast to coast.

The replica, like most of the structures in the park, including the train station, is covered with plants.

station platform

The roof and the walls are growing.


No. 374 is covered with plants.

heading into the park

Inside the park, the staff work very hard to keep the plants watered and are constantly pruning, and transplanting to maintain the displays in peak condition.

Fortunately, the river is near.

Beware of the magic wand.

Just filling in the bare spots.

Someone is tickling my tummy.

If you water it, it will grow.

It may look like a difficult, backbreaking job in the hot sun, but there are some ways to make it easier.

Electric clippers to trim the delicate areas.

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To learn about the train, follow the link to



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Ottawa 2017

Ottawa 2017

In 2017 Canada is celebrating 150 years of confederation. In this peaceful city, the capital of Canada, something unusual is happening.

Parliament buildings, library, and Peace Tower.

This beautiful city on the Ottawa River has reconciled differences between French and English issues.

The City of Ottawa on the Ottawa river

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The problem came from France under the name of “La Machine” and first showed up between the towers of this Roman Catholic Church, Notre Dame Cathedral, surrounding the golden statue of Mother Mary.

Ottawa’s Notre Dame Cathedral

The Police were prepared.

Police are standing guard to protect the people.

The threat came from this giant spider found resting in a parking lot. The cranes were brought in to take it away.

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Fortunately nearby, Long Ma, a dragon horse also rests in preparation for a battle with Kumo.

Long Ma the dragon horse

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The battle Sunday evening resulted in Long Ma defeating Kuma. The production team from France packed up and left for another city.  Search Google to learn more about “La Machine”.

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Herculaneum, like Pompeii was buried by ash from the 79 A.D. eruption of Mount Vesuvius. However the ash must have been cooler since there was not as much burning of the timbers as in Pompeii.

a chard timber

The city was rediscovered in 1709, and excavations began in 1738.  Since few bodies were discovered in the excavations, it was assumed that most of the residents escaped. However in the 1980s while excavating the ancient shoreline, (now inland) about 120 bodies were found in caves that may have been boat houses.

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mosaic tiled bath

A base relief wall plaque

A work place with ovens and water jugs

some sculpture fairly well preserved.

Interior walls were well decorated like this Mosaic of Neptune and Amphitrite.

Mosaic of Neptune and Amphitrite

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Naples and Herculaneum

From the Gulf of Naples in the northern Mediterranean Mount Vesuvius is a prominent feature of the skyline as it rises to 1,281 m (4,203 ft) . Three million people live around the base of the mountain which last erupted in 1944. Naples is the third largest city in Italy and its suburbs surround the base.

Mount Vesuvius and the surrounding homes and roads.

The mountain was declared a national park in 1995 and roads lead up to its peak.

life in Naples Italy


The city is very old dating back to the second millennium B.C. Today it is a blend of the old and the new and offers beautiful  sights as one drives along the coast.

no space is wasted between the road and the sea

A short drive from Naples is another site where excavations of an ancient city are taking Place. It is called Herculanium and was also buried by the ash from the 79 A.D. eruption. Herculanium appears to have been a richer city than Pompeii. The homes were larger and more lavishly decorated.

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The entire site is below the level of the surrounding land. It is accessed through a long tunnel and access ramp.

Access through the tunnel

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Nature is reclaiming the land after excavation.

sunset on Naples, Italy

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Pompeii Artifacts

Pompeii Artifacts

In addition to the stone walls, columns, and statues, there were many other artifacts found in the buried city. Imagine all of the pots, jugs, and jars that would be left behind by those who managed to flee the destruction.

Gymnasium near the bath house.

Behind the fence on the right of the picture above is a new roof which is sheltering many of those items found.

Pots and jugs and urns found here.

more pots, jugs and urns.

During the excavating they found cavities in the solidified ash. By carefully pouring plaster into these cavities, they were able to make casts of their shapes. The results are both surprising and disturbing.


sitting, praying or holding his nose?

Not all casts turned out to be people. Here is one of a dog.

The cast of a dog.

A dog in distress.

There is so much more to see.

Would you like the guided tour?

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Pompeii Baths

Pompeii Baths

Since Pompeii is a Roman city it has become a preserved sample of what the baths were like. Most private homes did not have their own baths because of the complexity of heating them and the amount of space they required.

Furnace for the bath

The water was heated on one area and directed to the other parts of the building through ducts in the walls and raised floors that allowed water to flow underneath them.

fire pit above raised floor

Hot water flowed under the floors

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There were separate dressing rooms for men and women, and three different temperature bath areas; cold, warm and hot. The lady’s dressing area was more plainly decorated than the men’s.

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Exit from bath house


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Pompeii Remains

The City of Pompeii was buried under the ash and cinders of Mount Vesuvius for 17 centuries before excavations began. The homes, shops and streets are well preserved and give us a better understanding of life in 79 A.D.

Artistically planned and carefully constructed.

All wooden beams and anything flammable was destroyed.

Notice holes where beams would have been supported.

some reconstruction

Some reconstruction has been done to give a better sense for what was. Records must exist to indicate who originally lived at this address. The gates are used to keep tourists away from areas that have not been made safe for the busy traffic.

nature returns to claim its land

In this Mediterranean climate it must have been a beautiful place with flower gardens everywhere.

a garden? a temple?

gathering around the green monster

Put on a pedestal and honored again.

How grand these statues must have been.

Columns still remain.

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