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Architecture of Ancient Crete
The first discovery of pre-palace civilization was found in eastern Crete. The buildings were primarily made up of brick and stone, which proved to be a new development of architecture in this region. The pre-palace civilization basically describes the buildings built before the palaces. As Nicolas Platon states, "These stout buildings of brick or stone testified to a completely new way of building that was certainly not just a development of earlier methods (31).
The old palace civilization is the beginning of palaces in ancient Crete. However, palaces are not the only concentration of early Minoan civilization. The ancient tombs, temples, cities, and buildings are all components of early Cretan architecture. The prime archetypes that are significantly linked to Cretan architecture are the palaces of Knossos and Phaestos. These palaces are significant because their style has been copied and used for different palaces. The palaces and buildings of the old palace civilization are complex they contain:
The most famous of the palaces built during this time period was the palace at Knossos which was built around 1700 BCE. The palace at Knossos has been rebuilt more than once during periods of Minoan civilization. As L. R. Palmer states, “It was a typical Cretan palace in that it was built around a central court which was about twice as long as it was broad” (31). The central court is surrounded by architectural blocks, which is why scholars have termed Minoan architecture as “centrifugal”. The focus of a Minoan palace is clearly the central court (Minoan Architecture 6). The palace was remodeled after an earthquake hit just before the close of the old palace civilization. Scholars believe that the palace was not completely destroyed, that the Minoans just rebuilt the parts of the palace that were affected by the earthquake on top of what was already there. As Jewelry notes the Knossos Palace is divided into distinctive apartments for:
The West Court
There are various courts, sections, and rooms that make up the Knossos Palace. Of these, the best known is probably the west court. The west court is placed behind the Guard’s House and is led up to by concrete steps. The west court is paved with irregular flags, that archaeologists have reason to suspect were once covered with plaster. The west court has a slightly raised “causeway” that is made of cut limestone and leads through the east and north-east courts. These “causeways” eventually join up with the path that runs along the west porch and the west facade of the Palace. The west facade is a massive wall that has a projecting course that is made of massive dressed blocks of gypsum. The wall is six feet thick, that was filled with a rubble core. The west facade is characterized by these major projections and recessions that correspond to groups or blocks of magazines on the interior. The west court leads to the west porch, which has decorated walls covered with scenes of bull fighting. From here all the rooms lead to the central court, which is the center of the whole place (Palmer 40) .
The New Palace Civilization
The new palace civilization is also referred to as the reconstruction period in Minoan civilization. The new palaces that were built took on new functions and forms that had not been needed in the old palaces. Although the old palaces were complex and organized for their time, they lacked
During its various stages, Cretan architecture was always affected by what was going on in its world at the time. Whether it be earthquakes, fires, being conquered, total destruction, or another catastrophe that is left unknown, Cretan architecture was built and rebuilt many times. Each of these times, the architecture became more suited to modern times. The architecture of ancient Crete was not just affected by various means but was also a product.
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This page was created by J.C. Last revised 3/27/00.