According to Greek mythology, Europa was the beautiful daughter of king of Phoenicia, Agenor and sister of Cadmus (founder of the Thebes). Once, while playing with her friends on the beach, godZeus saw her and fell in love with her. He transformed into a beautiful, burly and strong bull, and pretended that he grazed near the beach. Then, she approached the bull and started to caress him, fascinated by his strength. Then she decided to ride the bull, but he then started running with lightning speed. He crossed the South Cretan Sea, until he arrived in Crete (in the position of today’s Lentas).
In Crete Zeus got back to his true form, and led Europa in Gortyn, under the evergreen plane tree of Gortyn. There, they mated and the fruit of their love was Minos and Rhadamanthys. Indeed some coins of ancient Gortyn represent Europa.
Zeus left to Olympus and Europa married the king of Crete, Asterios, who adopted her children. After the death of Asterios, Minos became king of the capital of Crete, Knossos, and built the first European civilization, the Minoan. Minos ruled justly over Crete and managed to unite all the cities under the Minoan rule. Indeed, because of his justice, when he died he became a Judge in Hades.
According to another version, the mating of Zeus and Europe took place in the Diktaean Cave in Lassithi Plateau. Also, it is worth mentioning that the continent Europe took its name after Europa, the mother of the first European civilization, and the Rape of Europe is represented in the Greek 2 euro coin.