Extension of the visitors’ route from the South House to the Caravanserai

In the context of the 3rd CSF project, static reinforcement work was carried out and a new visitors’ route constructed in the area of the “South House”.

The particular topography of this area of the Palace has always caused problems as regards both access to the area and the stability of the “South House”. Following a geophysical study by the Technological Educational Institute of Crete, which indicated the presence of water under its shallow foundations, a study into the rainwater drainage of the area was carried out, with a statics and architectural study the following year.

During the course of the work, based on the above studies, a new rainwater drainage system was constructed in order to prevent water pooling under the shallow foundations of the South House, leading to creep. It was also considered essential to the effective static reinforcement of the monument to reinforce the west slope with a retaining wall of poros stone. Safe visitor access was ensured by constructing a walkway of prefabricated reinforced concrete sections of the same colour as the poros stone.

In the context of the NSRF project, the existing visitors’ route was extended from the “South House” to the “Caravenserai”. Thus the “Caravanserai” has been integrated with the “Minoan Viaduct”, linking the two banks of the Vlychia stream, and the “Stepped Portico”, a stately structure with steps and a colonnade leading to the Southwest Entrance to the Palace, one of the most impressive structures of the Knossos archaeological site.

The basic idea of the route is the creation of a new walkway for a limited number of visitors, supplementary to the existing route. Thus visitors can walk to these important monuments through a landscape of outstanding natural beauty, following the Minoan approach to the Palace.

At selected points along the route are viewing points and information signs for visitors to better see and understand the monuments, and observation posts ensuring safe circulation and control of visitor numbers. At the same time, a new, specially configured route was constructed to allow disabled visitors to access and view, as far as possible, these important monuments of the archaeological site. A relevant information sign in Braille, Greek and English was placed on the platform at the end of the route.

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