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|sat oct 31||68°F /62°F||20 km/h, N||64%||1.01 atm|
|sun nov 1||70°F /61°F||16 km/h, NNW||63%||1 atm|
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The City of Heraklion
Heraklion is the largest city of Crete and one of Greece’s major urban centers; its development began in the wake of the 9th century A.D. In antiquity, Knossos was the island’s most important centre while in later times, Heraklion came under Arabic, Venetian and Ottoman rule. During the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, the city of Heraklion was one of the Olympic cities.
Among the most outstanding sights of Heraklion are the fortification walls that delimit the old city. The first fortifications were built by the Arabs and were later reinforced by the Venetians. From the seven bastions, only the Martinengo bastion survives to this day. Visitors will find there the tomb of the renowned writer Nikos Kazantzakis, overlooking the city.
In the heart of the city, there are many monuments dating to the Middle Ages, a period in which Heraklion witnessed great prosperity. From the port, ascending 25 August Street, one reaches a square where the church of Agios Titos is found, while next to it lies the Venetian Loggia, a magnificent Venetian building decorated with blazons, trophies, etc. This served as a meeting place for the Duke and other nobles during the Venetian period. A typical feature of Heraklion is its Venetian and Turkish fountains, scattered all around the city. The most famous one is the Venetian-style Μorozini fountain, also known as the Lions, a landmark for local inhabitants and visitors alike.
Exploring the City
One should not miss out on a visit to the newly renovated Heraklion Archaeological Museum, one of the most important museums in Greece; it showcases almost all the unique treasures of the Minoan civilization unearthed at Knossos, Phaistos, Malia, and other sites.
In the market of Heraklion, one of the richest in the Mediterranean, visitors can find all sorts of modern products, as well as traditional Cretan products such as the famous Cretan olive oil, raki, local wine, honey, herbs, etc. Moreover, a modern golf course both for beginners and advanced players operates not far away from the city of Heraklion (in the area of Hersonisos).
About a 10-minute drive towards the south of Heraklion lies Knossos, one of the most important archeological sites in Europe, the legendary centre of the Minoan civilization from 1900 to 1400 B.C. The Palace of Knossos, the largest one in Minoan Crete, witnessed two architectural phases and which was devastated by the earthquake of Santorini (1450 B.C.) The site contains the remains of the Palace of Minos.
Unique Experiences – Visit Cretaquarium
Located a few minutes from Heraklion, it is the largest research, technology, and entertainment centre in the Mediterranean. Cretaquarium offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the magnificent world of the Mediterranean Sea. From large predatory sharks to tiny sea horses and spectacular jellyfish, the diversity of marine life is presented against a backdrop of Cretan underwater seascapes, such as the rocks at Matala (South Crete) and the seabed at Vai (Southeast Crete).
BY AIRPLANE – Heraklion is connected with daily scheduled domestic flights to all major Greek airports. During the summer months, charter flights are available from all major European capitals as well.
BY FERRY – There is a daily boat connection all year long from Piraeus port, and ferry itineraries between Heraklion and the Cyclades.