Located almost in the center of Crete, Heraklion has since the early years played a significant part in the history of the island. It has worn different names during the years: Heraklion, Hanclakas, Candi and Heraklion again, officially in 1922. The city of today is modern and large commercial, industrialand agrarian, provincial center. As the largest communication center of Crete it is connected with our country's largest cities and with several foreign cities.
Heraklion's long-lasting history has contributed to the existence of a significant cultural and intellectual movement. The new quarters do not have anything special to present. They remind us mostly of large cities in other parts of Greece. Yet the part of the city surrounded by the famous Venetian walls has preserved many picturesque spots and monuments, standing as reliable witnesses of its history, Once you had to pass through the gates of the wall if you wished to enter the city. Today only two of the four gates are preserved: the Gate of Pantokrator (or the Chania Gate) on the west side and the Gate of lisous (the new gate) along the southern side of the wall. At the southernmost point of the peribolus is the Martinengo bastion, the highest point of the castle and furthermore impregnable. Here is also the grave of the famous Nikos Kazantzakis. On a stoneplate you can read the inscription of a phrase stated by the author, "I hope nothing, I fear nothing, I am free".
At the old town's centre we meet the Square of Venizelos with the Venetian Morozini Fountain. The basilica of St. Mark, the Venetian Lotzia, beautiful fountains, old churches such as Agios Titos,the fortress, the Venetian shipyards and many more scattered monuments make our walk through the city.
A visit to Heraklion's Archaeological Museum is a must. You can see one of the world's most important collections with objects from Knossos, Phaistos, Gortyna, Arhanes and of other places on Crete. Nearby is the Historical Ethnographic Museum and ecclesiastical works of art. The local specialty of Heraklion is Hochli(snails) cooked in different ways. If you taste them without being to Id what it is, you will find them delicious. In Heraklion's 11 rakadika" you can enjoy the traditional " mezedes (appetisers) , baked potatoes 11 oftes patates", tasty cheeses and olives. The traditional Cretan sweets are "Kaltsounia" which you can find anywhere on the island. Don't forget to visit the "mahairadika", workshops where the famous Cretan knives are made by experienced hand crafters.
Near Heraklion you can swim at the organized beaches of Ammoudara, Linoperamata and Kartero. Here we also find the ruins Of the Minoan city of Amnisos and a villa with impressive frescos. In the same area the Cave of Eileithias is situated, which was the sanctuary of the goddess of fertility, in 1545, at the Picturesque village of Fodele Domenikos Theotokopoulos was born, more famous under the name of El Greco, one of the greatest painters Of the Renaissance period. Brilliant palaces and magnificent residences surrounded Heraklion during antiquity. The Minoan civilization flourished in Crete from 3000 to 1200 13C and was considered to be one of the most important in Greece. While it lasted, more than one hundred cities prospered and grew into significant centres of civilization. The Most well- known are Knossos, Phaistos, Malia, Gortys, Zakros and Arhanes. Most Of them were repeatedly destroyed by earthquakes and other natural phenomenon but each time they were rebuilt and were more magnificent than before. In the Minoan Civilization's Golden Age (1700 -1450 BC) art evolved in this cities leaving us a significant cultural inheritance and Considerable unique findings. Knossos is Crete's most significant archaeological site It was here that Arthur Evans" the English archaeologist discovered the ruins of the greatest and most luxurious Minoan palace. The first palace was built around 2000 BC and was destroyed some 300 years later. It was quickly rebuilt, this time more imposing and more magnificent than before thus marking the Neoanactoric