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Crete
Crete
#About the Largest Island in Greece

The Mediterranean atmosphere in Crete is perfect. Between the remains of a glorious past, one is greeted by a pleasant and friendly local population that speaks a different language but behaves with hospitality in everyone. Nowhere beats Crete when it comes to experiencing the sun-burned Greek charm, with the lazy and relaxed lifestyle of those who have everything and need nothing.

The island, which is the fifth largest of the Mediterranean islands, is considered the largest of the Greek islands. Who has not ruled here throughout history? There were the Greeks, the Romans, the Ottomans, the Venetians, and the Germans in World War II.

This island is a treasure. Crowds of tourists flock here every year, searching for the sea, the sun, the excellent food and some of the remnants of the Minoan culture, born here and the pioneer of Western cultures.

Apart from high mountains and small villages, beaches and blue bays, olive groves, bubbling nightlife and delicious taverns, Crete also has wooded hills, fertile soil and densely cultivated valleys, deep canyons, unique archeological sites, steep cliffs that rise from small beaches and sandy bays and bright villages.

The mountainous part of Crete is characterized by high mountains with fruit trees and endless olive groves. The local estimates is that the island has over 20 million olive trees.

This is actually a chain of mountains, which divides the island of Crete in two, and separates its southern and northern parts. Interestingly, if the major cities and popular tourist towns are on the northern coast, those interested can find peace and quiet on the more pleasant, quiet southern beaches and small villages, whose inhabitants live slowly and calmly, some of them still engaged in traditional handicrafts.


#History
The island of Crete preceded Greece and only became part of modern Greece in 1913 after the Balkan wars.

Minoan, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian, and Ottoman - the strategic location of the island in the Mediterranean made it a desirable island by empires and rulers. Everyone seemed to have passed through here, leaving their mark.

It all starts with the Minoan culture. Many see Crete as the cradle of Western culture, always referring to the Minoans, which was the first known culture on the continent of Europe.

The Minoan culture was of paramount importance in Greek mythology as well. The legends tell of Zeus's birth in Crete, the father of the Gods and the ruler of the heavens. It was from this place that the Minoan king Minus ruled Greece and the eastern Mediterranean. Crete was also the site where Hercules was anchored to complete one of the missions he was given, and this was where Athens, every year, sent a boat laden with human sacrifice.

After Greece, the Romans, the Venetians, and the Ottomans ruled here. At the end of the 19th century, they withdrew from the island, following the rebellions of the islanders. In the early 20th century Crete became part of Greece and during World War II it was conquered by the German army. During the war several battles between them and the Allies took place on its land.


#Entertainment
Among the sites for young people on the island of Crete, Malia is considered the capital of clubs, bars, parties and nightlife.


#Food
Souvlaki, giros, Greek salad, tzatziki, ouzo, feta cheese and seafood are plentiful, but there are many more wonderful dishes offered in Greek tavernas.

The best Taverna experience is to open with the rich Greek Mezes - a collection of excellent Greek starters.

Greek salad is also satisfying and wonderful, especially when the ingredients are fresh and seasoned well. Tavernas will usually do the job.

Meat lovers will be able to find any street is souvlaki, the Greek Shishlik, or Girus, the Greek shawarma. Fish is usually more expensive in these taverns, while octopus and chicken will be cheaper.

The local feta cheese (very high fat percentage) and the large, juicy red grapes.

Another pleasant surprise is the local wine, combined with ouzo and raki that flow through the streets like water add to the light mood of the island.

Just be sure to enter authentic taverns. The waiters do not usher in passerbys, so it is up to you to go on in. The menus are not on display and in the local joints, the menus are generally only in Greek and English. If dogs and cats are hanging around the taverna, it's a good sign- touristy restaurants tend to shoo them away.


#Transportation
If possible, explore the island with a rental car. Some hotels have a representative of a car rental company. If you have taken a local vehicle, carefully check the vehicle thoroughly and make sure that it has full and valid insurance that covers any damage to property or God forbid body injury.


#Tips
A good tip in restaurants and cafes in Greece is 1-3 euros. Before the economic crisis, 20% were given as a tip, but today the tips have dropped significantly. Another option is to leave a restaurant at 10% service charge on a low account or 5% at a high expense. You do not need to tip taxi drivers.


#Greece Country Code
+30


#Electric Outlets
The possible plugs are Type F and C (see link below with photos and details).


A taste of the upcoming trip? - Here's a video that will show you the island in all its beauty:

https://youtu.be/8iktgpgaYy4


Local Music:

https://youtu.be/934Befj4aD8


Aerial view:

https://youtu.be/18sYgM3OExg


A Bit From the Local Kitchen:

https://youtu.be/vjLl5jdb2Do
Margarites
Margarites
#About the Village of Potters

The village of Margarites is known in Crete as "the village of the potters." This is because Margarites is known as the island's capital of potters. It seems that here you can see through every window the variety of pottery items offered in the village for sale.

In addition to residential buildings, most of the houses in the village, which is located between Heraklion and Rethymno, are used as workshops for ceramics. Potters and artists create with their own hands and in the best of ancient tradition, a variety of jugs, crockery, ornaments and other clay and ceramic pottery.

At Margarites you can look at the working craftsmen and purchase tools, decorative products and clay objects they offer for sale. This is the place and opportunity to buy some souvenirs and gifts home.



#Tips

The tools and artifacts at the entrance to the village tend to be too expensive and touristy. It is worth trying to get a little more inside, into the village, where you will find more authentic ceramics at reasonable prices.



A Closer Look at Margarites :

https://youtu.be/C-KyOO-ErqE



A Woman Potter form the Town:

https://youtu.be/Aop32JxdTQs
Lasithi Plateau
Lasithi Plateau
#About Crete's agricultural and magical landscape

Lasithi Plateau, or the Lasithi Valley, is a beautiful region and one of the top tourist destinations for visitors. This plateau is famous for its dozens of windmills that are spread around. These are water pumps with wings, which granted the valley its name and ruins of more than 10,000 mills that were used for watering the fields.

Lasithi is an incredibly fertile green agricultural valley, with a carpet of densely cultivated fields. The real beauty happens in spring, when the flower rugs cover the valley and surround the snowy peaks of the high Dikti Mountains.

At the Dikti Mountains around the valley there are historical sites, like the Dikti cave, where according to Greek mythology, Zeus was born.

The Plateau has a few towns that have maintained their traditional lifestyles more or less. Some have ancient treasures, such as the village of Kera, which has a church from the Byzantine period, covered in frescoes from the 11th century.

The area is known for its Venetian windmills that have survived since the 15th century. Today only a few remain, maintain their classical look, with wings and white clothes that remind visitors of the romantic past.

These mills were used to pump water from under the ground, to water the fields and to grind wheat.

Every season here has its own charm. During fall the trees crouch from the burden of apples and ripe pears. During the spectacular spring bloom, the fields are green and full of blossoms.



A Closer Look at the Lasithi Plateau:

https://youtu.be/JUwpNZXY3Rg
Kissamos
Kissamos
#About the Real Crete

Around Kissamos there are no archeological sites or special tourist attractions, and this is precisely what is attractive about it. Here you can find nature and real local Crete culture.

You can start by going through a narrow canyon with dramatic views, a road leads into tunnels through the mountains and the special chestnut valley. The valley is luscious with groves where vines and chestnuts are grown.

At Kissamos there is a fascinating geological phenomenon of rock columns called Komolithi, and these are unique to the Crete region.

You will be able to stay in Kissamos in quiet towns, see monasteries and Greek-orthodox churches, dine with locals in authentic tavernas and enjoy walking in around the uncommercialized alleyways.



A Closer Look at the Komolithi Columns:

https://youtu.be/vLeYvVMrko0



The Wild Kissamos Beach:

https://youtu.be/NFGMevYfp10



Most Populated Beach Areas in Kissamos:

https://youtu.be/SsNOq9g9jTg

Crete

Anogia
Anogia
#About the Town of Anogia

It is always true that the less touristy and visited places are the ones where one can see the most culture and feel the local atmosphere. It is worth it to visit Anogia, the town of weavers. Beyond the typical look, narrow alleyways and white houses with blue doorways, the town of Anogia is a traditional center for colorful weaving, which is offered for sale at almost every home.

In this town you will be able to see weaving, tailors and artists creating carpets and fabrics which are completely authentic to the town. At almost every corner there is a weaving workshop, with a bent over weaver that will happily show you their work, all hand made.

More than cloths and the weaving, Anogia is a great place to escape the summer heat and find some cool places to hide from the Greek summer. The old Greece was somehow managed to maintain here. If you sit at a taverna or at a cafe, you will immediately understand what we mean.

As with many towns on the island, in Greece and across the globe, in this traditional town many of the young people have left. There are almost no young families and most of Anogia's residents are older citizens. Among these, the men are often dressed in traditional clothes and can be found in the town's squares, usually shaded under various trees like plum, fig or strawberry trees.



#Anogia's Trauma

Anogia today looks quiet and serene, so much so it is hard to believe that the residents here have endured suffering and evil, or cruelty of an occupying army. But once, in the past, this town was the center of a particularly cruel attack, that left deep marks. This cruelty was unusual even in terms of history and occupiers of Crete.

This happened during World War II, when a large majority of the town's youth helped British intelligence with information and espionage, against the Germany army that conquered the island.

The Nazis, when the cooperation with this group of locals with the British was exposed, responded in a mean and evil manner. The German soldiers burned the streets and killed at gunpoint all the men of the town. This is how the town was left burnt, with widows and father-less children.



A Closer Look:

https://youtu.be/oSj3i1u9xx4



Country Side Wedding:

https://youtu.be/5QqBuvkJ6yg



Anogia Celebration and Music:

https://youtu.be/kXDixl0ZW74
Agios Nikolaos
Agios Nikolaos
#About the Quiet Town with a Lake and Easy Going Attractions

Agios Nikolaos is located a few kilometers East from the capital of Heraklion, however before the 1960's, the town was barely heard of, especially outside of Crete. In the 1960's it was discovered by someone we all know, who made the town the super brand it is today. This was someone who drew and produced...the legendary Walt Disney. He fell in love with this little town, and following his lead many cinematographers floated here, who made this town trendy and hip. Later on came the fans, and Agios Nikolaos became the popular vacation town today - a beautiful beach town of the eastern coastline of the Island of Crete.

Successful but modest. This is a calm vacation spot, like the lake that lays here, takes its time slowly. This is a freshwater lake, but due to the stench of its stagnant waters in the 19th century was connected to the sea in 1867.

It is less necessary to talk about nightlife in Agios Nikolaos. Better to talk about the evening life. The evenings are usually focused on walking streets adjacent to the port and the beaches, with bars and tavernas on the harbor, endless stores and an atmosphere of freedom and fun.

If Hersonissos and Malia attract the younger and more wild tourists, the nightly entertainment seekers, the alcohol and the hormone-filled clubs, the music and the dancing, Agios Nikolaos is suitable for the older and more relaxed tourist. You will not find noisy parties here into the night, and compared to the noise and hustle and bustle of Hersonissos and Malia, Agios Nikolaos will help you sleep calmly and relaxed. A quiet, relaxed city for older, more relaxed people.



#Beaches

The beaches of Agios Nikolaos are:

Kitroplatia Beach - the main beach near the town center. A well taken care of beach near really great tavernas.

Ammos Beach - the town's south beach, near the marina. Ammos means 'sand' in Greek, named for its great sandy coastline. The beach has sunbathing chairs for rent and nearby restaurants.

Ammoudi Beach - a small beach located in a natural bay and far away from the town's winds. This beach can get crowded, but on a day with strong winds, it is much nicer to swim here, and there are lots of water activities as well.



A Closer Look at Agios Nikolaos:

https://youtu.be/wWVtP9TARlM



An Evening out In Fast-Forwarding:

https://youtu.be/L4tNhDaZJSI



A View From Above:

https://youtu.be/z7uVO8zIS-Y
Preveli
Preveli
#About the Waterfall on the Pleasant Preveli Beach

The estuary at the Preveli Canyon, also known as palgrove, is where the river flows into the sea. It is a sandy bay at the mouth of the Kourtaliotis channel, which creates, along with the spring, a delta that flows into the sea.

Not far from the beach are palm trees and oleander, along with the waterfalls, freshwater pools and palm groves, creating a beach that resembles a tropical lagoon. This experience is enhanced by the clear waters of Preveli Beach.

History buffs may find the Moni Monastery an interesting attraction. Located two kilometers away from Preveli, its proximity to the seashore and relative isolation contributed to the fact that this monastery was used by the inhabitants of Crete who rebelled against the Turks. However the rebellion against the Ottomans failed and they suffered many losses at the hands of the Turks, until they were defeated.

Either way, the beach is very pleasant and beautiful and over the years it became the "poster" of Crete- one of the most photographed parts of the island to depict this magical place.



#Tips:
Keep in mind that the beach may be full of people, especially during tourist season.

There is a scuba diving center with diving activities for different levels.



A Closer Look at Preveli Canyon:

https://youtu.be/rO7Y0Jcm6zw



The Town and the Beach:

https://youtu.be/rq6gOQI_OB8
Moni Arkadiou
Moni Arkadiou
#About the Monastery That Did Not Surrender to the Turks

The Moni Arkadiou Monastery was established during the Venetian reign on the island. Its facade is built in the Baroque style and contains quite interesting artwork. It is located approximately 25 kilometers south of Rethymno.

The importance of the monastery is mainly historical. In 1866 Greek rebels were barricaded here, trying to expel the Ottomans from Crete.

This was at the end of the failed revolt. The monastery served as a fortress where 150 Greek rebels and their families barricaded themselves. When the rebels, headed by their leader Abbott Gabriel, saw the Turks succeeding in conquering the monastery and beginning to slaughter them and their families, they preferred to blow up the building and sacrifice themselves, rather than fall into the hands of the Ottomans.

Since then, the monastery has been a Greek symbol of heroism and freedom. Though the rebellion against the Ottomans failed, years later the island of Crete was liberated and became once more a part of Greece.

The gunpowder warehouse on the northern side of the monastery complex is worth the visit. This was where the heroic explosion of the rebels took place. There is also a small museum where you can see memorabilia from the historical event, such as clothes with the blood of the victims that are still visible.

In addition to its history, the monastery is a nice and well-kept area that will also interest visitors not interested in church sightseeing. However, a visit to the impressive church from 1587 in the courtyard of the monastery is still very enjoyable.



A Closer Look:

https://youtu.be/N4n2HwqLR1Q


Malia
Malia
#About the Youthful Town

This town is a popular spot for young adults. There is a lively nightlife with cute bars, dancing and great beaches. Just east of Heraklion, Malia is fifteen minutes away from the Crete airport by car. It has become the capital for young people in recent years.

Most of these teens hail from Europe and America in tens of thousands and fill the streets and beaches here, at all hours of the day and night. The golden beaches and charming hotels make the town a paradise for the young vacationers of the island of Crete and a few adults, if any, come to visit.

The bars and clubs here are open until morning, and from there the teens go straight to Malia's beautiful clean beaches, another day of lounging, swimming, and entertainment.



#Tips
Sleep accommodations in the town are relatively cheap, especially the hotels lining the main road.



A View from Above:

https://youtu.be/VC9UQ005jhk



A Closer Look:

https://youtu.be/asoIdyNsW9Q



The Famous Pool Party:

https://youtu.be/SWc5a1Li_E0



The Clubs:

https://youtu.be/_SuDquBf9PU
Festos
#About the Palace

During the Minoan period, Festos, situated approximately 63 kilometers south of Heraklion, was the city of the second most important palace of Knossos. Festos was destroyed around 1450 BC, along with the other Minoan palaces in Crete.

Festos is located in an impressive hillside with a stunning view of Ida Mountain and the Messara Plain, a plateau with particularly fertile land.

The structure of the palace on the site of the ancient Festos is reminiscent of the palace in Knossos, however unlike the latter, the palace in Festos does not have magnificent frescoes. However, Festos is much more serene than its more popular competitor. A visit to Festos Palace is a more relaxing experience.

Popular attractions here include the pottery house, the maze of ruins, the Minoan courtyard and the theater with terraced stone seats and a huge staircase, a peristylium hall, and a large central courtyard.

Do not look for the Phaistos disk, which has yet to be deciphered. The mysterious disk dating back to 1600 BC, was discovered here during archaeological excavations, and is now on display at the Heraklion Museum of Archeology.


A Closer Look at Festos:

https://youtu.be/FS2x8Y5uPu4


Another Look:

https://youtu.be/jVKt7kK3F4c
Ammoudara Beach
#About Heraklion's Popular Beach

Ammoudara Beach is recommended to those vacationing in Heraklion. Ammoudara, Heraklion's suburb, is a 6-minute drive from the center of Heraklion, and its beach is considered one of the best on the island. Though popular, it is spacious enough due to its large expanse- 7 kilometers.

The sandy beach is located on the western side of Heraklion. Easily reached from the city, though walking by foot is not recommended. The waters are shallow, but sometimes a little wavy. The beach has full services and water sport activities for those interested.

Ammoudara Beach also has high-quality hotels and the atmosphere in the area is very pleasant.



A Closer Look:

https://youtu.be/nJIynhFhijk
Agios Pavlos
#About the Small Village with Amazing View to the Sea

On the southern side of Crete is Agios Pavlos, a traditional village with spectacular panoramic views of the Gulf of Márra.

The village, which is located on the beach, has huge sand dunes and many people enjoy spending time playing in the sand and running down from the top of the dunes to the sea. It is a delight for children and parents with a young spirit. This is a great attraction in addition to the excellent beach itself.



A Closer Look at the Village and Beach of Agios Pavlos:

https://youtu.be/uq2VcjwbVAw


The View and Beach from the Village:

https://youtu.be/7IvzxNDxFps


A View from Above:

https://youtu.be/l-dGGPPmUds
Stavros
#About the Beach and Village of Zorba the Greek

The village of Stavros is located at the northern part of Akrotiri Peninsula. It is a fishing village famous for the Sirtaki dance from the film Zorba the Greek, where Anthony Quinn dances on the village shore. The film was released in 1964 and was based on a 1952 book by Nikos Kazantzakis, a Crete native.

The film tells the story of a man who meets a mine worker full of zest for life and leads him to a significant change. Kazantzakis was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature and lost it to Albert Camus by the margin of a single vote. That year, Albert Camus died, claiming that Kazantzakis was worthy of the prize and he was not.

Incidentally, not many people know that the Sirtaki dance that was immortalized in the film is not a traditional folk dance, but a dance that was invented for the film. Following the film's success, the dance became popular all over the world and in Greece itself. It is a unique folk dance created in the studio.



The Dancing Scene from Zorba the Greek on the Stavros Shore:

https://youtu.be/fPWU8hy0McY



The Beach Today:

https://youtu.be/OH0IaxDIn_s



The Beach from Above:

https://youtu.be/NezCM0IPwcY
Samaria
#About Crete's Deep Canyon

Samaria is a narrow, deep canyon that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. The canyon, located at the southwest area of the island, is a particularly impressive national park, considered one of the most beautiful in Europe.

There are a number of trails at different levels of difficulty. Generally, the duration of walking in the canyon is about 6 hours on average. The ground is rocky, and in spring and fall there are beautiful flowers and walking here is great fun.

Incidentally, the Greeks claim that the canyon is the deepest in Europe. This is a debate, of course, as well as the claim that the 16-kilometer canyon makes it the longest canyon in Europe.

The channel begins in the White Mountain region, at the edge of the Umlus Plateau. The walk for the first 6 kilometers is in a wide channel, followed by the abandoned village of Samaria. From there the narrow section of the canyon begins. There follows a section that separates only 3.5 meters between the cliffs that rise to a height of 300 meters. After a long walk in the canyon one arrives at the Iron Gates, a place where there are no gates and no locks, making it difficult to understand where the name originated… From this point, the canyon opens up to a wide valley where the remains of the ancient village Agia Roumeli and the beach are located. The trail ends after an additional two kilometers.



#Tips

Get an early start in the morning to complete the route. Later, the canyon gets crowded.

Those who do not arrive on an organized trip must travel to Umlus, an hours drive, a bus is available three times a day from Chania.

Do not forget to take good walking shoes, water, a sleeping bag, a hat, and food. Some also need warm clothes.

The mountains are covered with thick snow from November to May.

The trip to the canyon is permitted during the months of May to October, though it is chiefly recommended during the spring months - it can get quite crowded in the summer. The bonus is a wonderful flowering of wildflowers.

By the way, during the spring for floods- these can cause sudden danger in the canyons in Crete.

Sleeping in the canyon is forbidden.



A Trip in the Canyon:

https://youtu.be/eoOJcg60cl4



A Closer Look:

https://youtu.be/e6EmdG7TaiU



Another Look:

https://youtu.be/j36l7ybliBw
Plakias
#About the Charming Beach and Town

Plakias was once a peaceful and picturesque fishing village on the waterfront in southern Crete. Today the spot has become a charming little town, with beaches reminiscent of the Far East.

It is hidden in a small bay and apart from landscapes, a pleasant atmosphere and a sea breeze, it is one of the most popular places on the island and a favorite haven for beach lovers. The sandy beach is great for swimming and water sports, it is well organized and ideal for a full day's entertainment.

In the surrounding area, one can go hiking. If you choose to head east towards Damnoni you will find more isolated beaches, some of which are even nudist beaches.



A Closer Look at Plakias:

https://youtu.be/1W5AQMWVxLk



A View from Above:

https://youtu.be/SohyGQC-NgE
Eleftherios Venizelos
#About the Graves of the Greek leader Venizelos and his Family

Eleftherios Venizelos is a tomb that lays at the edge of the city of Akrotiri, while heading towards the peninsula of the same name. He was one of the leaders of the Cretan uprising in 1897, which led to the expulsion of the Ottoman Turks from the island.

Then, at the beginning of the 20th century, Venizelos, who came from Crete, became prime minister of Greece and one of the most important Greek leaders in history. He remains an important cultural hero to this day on the island of Crete.

As the leader of the Greek nation he was a nationalist and renewed the vision of a "Great Greece." He dreamed and called upon the Greeks to renew the greatness of Byzantium and restore the city to its former glory.

However, he wasn't invested in art, culture, or legal grandeur. His first and foremost concern was reestablishing the "Byzantine Empire," that is, the conquest of territories. Equipped with this belief, he led Greece to annex parts of Bulgaria and Turkey and in retrospect brought about the expulsion of the Greeks from Asia Minor.

The tomb of Venizelos has a magnificent view of the entire town of Chania and the Akrotiri Peninsula.
Chania
#About the Most Beautiful City in Crete

The city of Chania is considered the crown jewel of Crete and one of the most beautiful cities on the island. It was not for no reason that it was chosen as the set of the film "Zorba the Greek." The city combines elements from Greece, Turkey, Venice and even a little taste of the Middle East. Tiled roofs alongside white domes, Turkish balconies overlooking Mediterranean lanes, a cross and church bells alongside the minarets of the mosques and the crescent.

Chania is located in western Crete, in the most interesting and beautiful part of the island. Dating from the end of the 19th century to 1971, Chania served as the capital of Crete. It was after this that Heraklion took the title. Chania is also the second largest city on the island and many come to enjoy its beauty. This is a popular city where crowds spend the tourist season, but despite the stress, it is pleasant and relaxed.

It is recommended to visit its ancient quarter, located at the Venetian harbor. At the port itself you can see sights such as the Venetian Lighthouse and Firkas Fortress‬. The town has its own Maritime Museum and a successful archaeological museum. If you are interested in weapons, be sure to visit the Venetian weapons warehouses on the ship.

Chania's modern section of the city is an excellent place to take a stroll. There are many pleasant parks to enjoy, a pastoral break from the tour and some family entertainment. The new quarter of the city also has an indoor market, with delicious foods and beverage stalls, and local products such as hand-woven baskets.

Apart from the colorful market in the new part of Chania, the docks at the harbor lend themselves to a romantic night out. If you are in search of a good dinner, you can sit at one of the taverns or choose from the many cafés in the city. Those interested can click on the tag "Must-eat places" and choose where to eat, and enjoy an excellent meal.


#Architecture

The Venetian Chania was built in 1252 on the ruins of the Minoan city of Kydonia. Remains of the Venetian wall from the past still surround the ancient city of Chania.

Over the years it has been fortified by local residents to protect the locals against pirate attacks. This wall has even enhanced the city's charm and beauty.

Many conquerors came and went. Over the centuries, a fascinating mix of Venetian structures were built in the ancient city of Chania, alongside equally impressive Turkish construction. Greek style was not neglected, and the Venetian, Turkish and Greek mix created a mosaic of influences and styles through this special city.

Hints and shadows left from past wars, including those of World War II, were not erased. Chania was often bombed during the war and was badly damaged. Luckily for us, there are enough preserved areas in the city, allowing us to wander the narrow, long streets and see medieval architecture.

Today, Chania's ancient, graceful and crumbling quarter, with its romantic harbor and colorful, slightly shaky houses, is one of the most pleasant and picturesque places on the island of Crete.



#Tips

Many restaurants are located on Chalidon Street in Chania, as well as numerous jewelry stores.



A Closer Look at the City of Chania:

https://youtu.be/Efe6YxVbHXI



Beautiful Chania from Above:

https://youtu.be/kQWMj5YwlzQ


Spinalonga
#About the Island of Lepers, Sofia's Island

Spinalonga means "long thorn" in Greek. It is located in the Mirabello Bay of Crete, which for many years served as a leper colony. Leprosy patients were removed in ancient times from the healthy community, so that other people would not become infected by the terrible disease.

Once a week, the local priest would sail to the leper colony from the village of Elounda on the northeastern tip of the island, to ease the suffering of the sick who longed for their families. It was at this island that they withered until they died of the incurable disease.

The Island, then known as the "Island of the Living Dead," served as a leper colony until 1953. Victoria Hyslop's best-selling novel "The Island" gave the island character and life in the face of its difficult history. In doing do it also turned the island into one of Crete's most famous attractions.

Upon reaching the island, one comes through the "gate of the condemned" - the entrance gate from the sea, through which the new lepers entered the island. Above it is written in Roman an ancient inscription that was so suited to the sad settlement: "May God preserve you."

Many of the tourists who come to see the remnants of the lepers' village also turn their attention to the dead in the cemetery where the lepers of the island were buried. The cemetery is divided by the classes: While the poor were buried under the cobblestone floors, thrown into a pit without so much as a funeral, the high-born lepers were granted their own graves.


#What Can be Seen at Spinalonga?

At the center of the small island of Spinalonga stands a hill, atop which stands an ancient fortress. The Venetians built the fortress and its surrounding walls, atop the solid rock of the island in 1579. Later on, the Ottomans came into power and ruled the island, and it was used, among other purposes, for smuggling. When the island became part of Greece in 1903, the Greek government established the leper colony.

Look carefully at the guard towers of the citadel and you will see that they have small openings in the bottom, which enabled the guards to relieve themselves, without abandoning their posts…



A Closer Look:

https://youtu.be/_uys2igm500



A View from Above:

https://youtu.be/d3nlGDW839Q
Heraklion
#About Crete's Capital

Heraklion, Crete's capital, is a modern, bustling city. It's not as interesting or beautiful as Chania or Rethymno. Some even deem it ugly. However, it is still worth a visit for two reasons. The ancient quarter surrounded by a wall built during the Venetian rule of the island is a sight worth experiencing.

The second attraction of the city is the impressive archeological museum, where important artifacts of the Minoan civilization - the ancient culture which ruled the island for about 1,200 years - are presented. Most of the artifacts in the museum were brought from the excavations of Knossos, an ancient Minoan city, 5 kilometers away from Heraklion.

This is one of the largest cities in all of Greece. The nightlife is superb. Many tourists come to Heraklion and access the rest of Crete by renting a car and reaching other accommodation and the rest of the sites.



A View from Above:

https://youtu.be/Io0cAqZiR1g
Knossos Palace
#About the Famous Palace of the Minoan Civilization

Knossos Palace is a large archaeological site that is located a few kilometers south of Heraklion. It was built in the ancient city of Knossos, generally known as the central city in the Minoan culture of the Bronze Age.

The construction of the palace began about 4,000 years ago, however after approximately 300 years the original palace was destroyed. A much more magnificent palace was built upon its ruins, which was also destroyed around the year 1450 BC. This occurred during a violent earthquake, which hit not only the island of Crete but also the island of Santorini.

Before it was destroyed, this palace covered an area of about two square kilometers. It was developed around the famous legend of the labyrinth built by King Minos. The labyrinth was built to hold the Minotaur - a human being with the head of an ox born to the king's wife. In this labyrinth, the architect Daedalus and his son Icarus were imprisoned and from there the two took off to the sky.



#The Legend of Icarus and Daedalus in the Heavens

One of the most famous legends in Greek mythology took place in this palace. It is the story of Icarus.

According to Greek mythology, Icarus was the only son to Daedalus. He was a reckless, clumsy child, whose father was an artist and an inventor. When King Minos of Crete asked him to build the labyrinth, a maze designed to hide from the world and hold the monstrous Minotaur, the son of Minus's wife, Daedalus did so willingly. He managed to create a labyrinth form which the Minotaur could not escape.

However, once Dedalus finished building the labyrinth, he was surprised when King Minos imprisoned him and Icarus in a tower so that no one would discover the secrets of the labyrinth.

Daedalus and Icarus managed to escape from the tower and decided to flee the island of Crete. But the island was surrounded by ships and guards, so the two decided to make wings of birds' feathers, which were connected by wires of wax.

Before they began to fly, the father warned Icarus not to fly close to the sun, for fear that the hot sun would dissolve his wings. But when they began to fly, the impulsive Icarus was excited by the flight and began to rise up, forgetting his father's warnings. As Daedalus feared, the heat of the sun quickly melted the wax of his wings, and Icarus fell down from the sky, plummeting into the sea to his death.

Since then, the story of Icarus has been a warning sign for people, not to be reckless adventurers who take unnecessary risks, forgetting all precautions.



#The Antiquities of Knossos

Knossos Palace is the most important site of the many remains in Crete. The Minoan civilization developed and flourished on the island of Crete during the Bronze Age, and has remnants worthy of exploration.

Knossos probably served as the political and commercial center of Minoan culture. The antiquities that remain to this day provide an exciting site for the island's visitors.

At the beginning of the last century, the archaeologist Arthur Evans discovered this vast palace. In March 1900, barely a month after he began the excavations, he uncovered the throne hall where Evans then found King Minos' original throne.

Later on during the excavations, the palace, shaped like a complex labyrinth, was discovered, with halls and living rooms alongside warehouses and workshops where former craftsmen, jewelers, and potters, worked in the past.

The walls of the palace that Evans discovered were covered with paintings depicting life in Crete during the Late Bronze Age. These impressive frescoes, like most of the important artifacts discovered here at Knossos, were transferred to the Archaeological Museum in Heraklion, which contains the world's largest collection of Minoan art.

Apart from exciting and important archaeological discoveries, Evans did something else for which he was less appreciated. He began to reconstruct the palace and created a great deal of controversy over this activity. With great creativity and imagination, he literally rebuilt many parts of the palace. The construction was done with concrete, which is now considered a serious alteration to the findings.

In addition, Evans brought painters artists who "renovated" the frescoes discovered on the walls of the palace. In so doing, it made the place much more impressive and colorful but significantly damaged its authenticity.

It is important to note that renewal of the painting is not a reconstruction of it, at least not according to today's accepted standards. There are also some scholars who claim that some of the renewed paintings were not accurate in the original subjects that were painted on the wall.




#Tips

The palace can be reached by bus departing from Heraklion every 15 minutes.



A Closer Look at Knossos Palace:

https://youtu.be/I6JJdzsE3_A


The Original Structure:

https://youtu.be/4XJd88cTRsU
Heraklion Port
#About the Harbor in Crete's Capital

The capital Heraklion is a vibrant and fun place. For tourists, this is a reminder of the mystical Greece much more than the actual city. There is a Victorian Fortress filled with small stores, fisherman and fishing boats, and the pier is a great place for a walk at night.

For many years the harbor in Heraklion has been the center of town for culinary delights. There are a lot of great tavernas grouped here, bars, cafes, and different attractions. From this island, it is possible to sail to the Cyclades Islands and to the Port of Piraeus.

As a favorite place for culinary enthusiasts, there are many great restaurants here. These restaurants specialize in seafood dishes. These are considered the most popular restaurants that can be found in Heraklion.

Heraklion Port is more than enough for the local population. There are also places with souvlaki gyros, and some of the best local baked goods in Greece.



#A Closer Look:
https://youtu.be/aEt0CuOzCXk
Gortis
Axos
Hersonissos
Lake Kournas
Lefka Ori


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שלום,
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