Culture and History
Crete seduces and captures the senses with its impressive and majestic landscape, but also with the spirit, the history and the Cretans themselves
Discover its varied history through the centuries: In its Minoan palaces of Knossos, of Phaistos, Malia and Zakros. At the archaeological sites of ancient Gortyna, Eleftherna, Lyttos, Apteras, Falassarna, Spinalongas… In the Venetian ports of Chania, Heraklion and Rethymnon. In Ottoman monuments and architectures scattered throughout the island. In the historical monasteries of Arkadi, Preveli, Toplou, Agarathos, Chrysoskalitissa… In the numerous thematic museums, among them the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, one of the most important in the world.
The greatest civilisation of Minoan Crete ruled almost 4,000 years ago and where Theseus killed the legendary Minotaur in King Minos’ labyrinth
The Knosos was the most important city of Crete before the Roman era and, above all, the center of the first brilliant European palace culture, the Minoan Civilization. The palace of the city is the most visited archeological site of Crete with more than 1,000,000 visitors a year. The palace is located just 5 km south of Heraklion, on the hill Kefalas over the banks of Knossanou Gorge. Access is via Knossos Street, which joins the Heraklio with Skalani. Apart from the palace area, the wider area is full of archeological finds, which is logical if we consider that Knossos had at its peak more than 100,000 inhabitants.
Royal courts, great staircases, theatre, storerooms and famous disk of Phaistos
The Phaistos was a city in Minoan Crete, 55km south of Heraklion and close to Tympaki. The ruins of the city are located on a low hill in plain of Messara, with panoramic views of the surrounding area. It is the second largest palace center after palace of Knossos, as it occupies an area of 18 acres. The city has been inhabited since 6000 BC, while it flourished in parallel with city of Knossos, until the 1st century BC.
One of the most striking scenery in Europe
The Samaria Gorge is the most famous trekking gorge in Europe and a part of the European E4 hiking trail. Thousands of tourists flock here daily in the summer season to walk from the top to the bottom. For many visitors, it is the sole purpose of their visit to Crete. The length of the gorge reaches 14.5km and takes almost 5-7 hours to hike from Xyloskalo at Omalos plateau to Agia Roumeli beach, depending on the trekking pace.
Surrounded by some of the most striking scenery in Europe, the Samaria Gorge trail, in Chania, includes abandoned villages and the rich wildlife of Crete’s White Mountains National Park.
Venetian Fortezza Fortress
A Venetian landmark in Crete
The Venetian Fortezza fortress is built on the “Paleokastro” hill, located on the west side of the old Venetian Town of Rethymno and is one of the largest Venetian fortresses in Crete. On this hill was built the acropolis of ancient Rithymna and the temple of Rokkaia Artemis, which are not saved today. The majestic pentagonal fortress began to be built in 1573 and has a perimeter of 1300 meters. Along the wall there are 4 bastions (Saint Luke, St. Elias, Ag. Pavlou, Ag. Nikolaou), which served the defense to the enemy.
Venetian Harbor of Rethymnon
Rethymno, in Crete, is a rare combination of history and modern-day luxury, with its Venetian-era Fortezza fortress and multicultural Old old Towntown, tropical beaches and exquisite Cretan cuisine.
The Venetian Port, next to the modern port, is one of the most picturesque places of the Old Town of Rethymno next to he most picturesque areas of it, Egyptian Lighthouse. It has existed since the Byzantine Period (after 961 AD), but flourished during the Venetian occupation.
The Venetian Port no longer hosts Venetian galleys and Turkish warships, but the fishing boats rocking in its waters create a beautiful and serene image. The port is full of life in the summer, when the taverns take the tables outside and invite passers-by to sit down to enjoy their cuisine, Greek or international.
Οld Venetian Town Of Rethymno
Rethymnon retains the charm of the old town
The old Venetian Town of Rethymno is a preserved Renaissance city with elements from both the Venetian and the Ottoman Empire. The city is full of picturesque streets, like Arkadiou str. and Antistaseos Str., but also a lot of graphics quietly narrow where life flows very smoothly. Above the old town rises the The Venetian Fortezza fortress. The picturesque alleys of the area also house taverns with traditional music.
An ancient, sacred place
The Melidoni Cave is located 1800m northwest of Melidoni’s Village in an altitude of 220m, on the west side of Kouloukonas. The Melidoni Cave, is of great interest because of its archaeological findings, the rich cave decoration, but also its tragic history with the massacre of the Cretans by the Ottomans in 1823. The cave is of great historical importance, as it is associated with one of the greatest tragedies in Cretan history.