The bustling city of

Heraklion

The Grand Castle

Today it is phenomenically a cement jungle.
However this town preserves some of the features
that made it be the most important Venetian territory
and one of the most historical places in the Mediterranean.

Top 10 attractions | Lion's Square | Knossos Palace | The Venetian Walls | Venetian Port | Museums | Accommodation

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Archaeological Museum of Heraklion

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Koules Fort

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Knossos Palace

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Heraklion is the largest city of Crete with a population of about 200.000. Heraklion houses the public services and the major scientific centers of Crete, being the commercial center of the island with the main port and airport.

From a scenic city with unique traditional Venetian and Ottoman monuments in early 1900s, as one of the most historical cities in the Mediterranean, Heraklion unfortunately turned into an ugly cement city, losing almost all of its aristocratic splendor. This bad development was a result of the need for rapid expansion of the city for the settling the refugees after the Asia Minor Catastrophe (1922), but also from the effort to "modernize" Heraklion by turning the beautiful old buildings into blocks of flats.

Even today the visitor can get a good taste of the glorious image of the past, while the locals can be surprised by the unknown corners of Heraklion and the story hidden behind them.

The history of Heraklion starts in Minoan era, as it was the port of the legendary palace of Knossos. However, the city in its present location (the old center) was built in 824 by the Arabs and later expanded and fortified by the Venetians and the Turks, who named it as the Large Castle of Candia. The current name Heraklion was given after the liberation of Crete from the Turks in 1898.

10 Top attractions of Heraklion City
Heraklion has a great history and, although its character has altered tremendously due to the catastrophic interventions of the past century, there are places that remind something from the beautiful Grand Castle of the Mediterranean. Here we present ten top attractions.
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The History of Heraklion
The city of Heraklion, as a settlement, existed since 1000-950BC around the current Venetian port. This settlement, called Heraklion, was the seaport of Knossos. Byzantine and Arab Era Much later, during the Byzantine period, the settlement still existed and was called Kastro (Castle), due to the fortification wall...
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Historical Monuments of Heraklion
Some attractions of Heraklion are the giant Venetian walls (the largest in the Mediterranean) with the various gates, the Archaeological Museum, the History Museum, the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Battle of Crete. Moreover, in the historic center it is worth visiting Loggia, the square with the Fountain of Lions, the Street August 25, the central market, the Basilica of San Marco, the churches of Saint Titos, Saint Minas, Saint Catherine, Saint Peter and the Venetian Harbour...
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Heraklion Venues and Museums
Some attractions of Heraklion are the Archaeological Museum, the History Museum, the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Byzantine icons. Heraklion also hosts several art galleries with permanent or periodical exhibitions, such as the basilica of Saint Mark, the museum of Visual Arts, etc.
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Religious Monuments of Heraklion
Brilliant churches, as well as male and female monasteries were built in Heraklion, especially during the rich Venetian Era. The seat of the Latin Archbishop was the church of Apostle Titus, which was built during the second Byzantine period and later. Heraklion today hosts the Archdiocese of Crete which operates under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Constantinople.
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