Monday, January 07, 2008

Crete: Agia Triada

Like Mycenae and Tiryns, Phaistos and Agia Triada are very close together, leading some scholars to speculate that Agia Triada was a second residence for the ruler, or at least associated with the palace at Phaistos in some way. It is smaller, and more difficult to find, since some of the road signs point in the wrong direction; and we were the only visitors there that morning. But it was very enjoyable, and has some unique features that certainly make it worth visiting.

It was interesting for me to see the different styles of masonry that mark the different periods of occupation. There are parts where the stones are neatly cut and carefully placed together side-by-side with the rougher looking walls pieced together with oddly shaped rocks. I imagine that this reflects the fluctuating prosperity of the inhabitants, but I am fond of the creativity that goes into piecing random shapes together.

There was a well-preserved marketplace, with a stretch of rooms, and the column bases out front where a colonnade once stood. There were also, just across the courtyard, some square walls sunk into the ground, that look like rooms on first sight, but lack any doors; perhaps they were storage pits.

There were also several very interesting examples of water systems still in tact at the site, both what seem to be raised water-supplying pipes, and gutters on the ground, which I imagine served for drainage. In addition, there were several staircases, all in different styles. One of them employed a technique that I've used before, where there are two quick steps, and then a longer landing, followed by two quick steps, and a longer landing, and so on, which is used to suit the rise and run of a particular space without making the steps awkward heights.