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Heraklion Crete Island

Heraklion is the capital of the island and the largest city. The city has a population of 120 000 the fifth largest in Greece. In the middle of the north coast, is also the transport hub with the international airport and the main port of the island. A wall of 3 km with four gates and seven ramparts contains the town of Heraklion and its suburbs.

Heraklion in ancient times serves as a port of Knossos but it is only in the 9th century AD that it appears as a town. Soon and under the occupation of the Venetians who built immense fortification walls, that stand intact even today, became big commercial centre of the whole Mediterranean, called Kandax which was later paraphrased to become Candia. Venetians erected many buildings that are excellent examples of Venetian Architecture of that time, and many of them exist today.

The Basilica of San Marco and the Loggia are two such specimens, while the Morozini fountain with its four lions has even given its name in the central spot of the town. A busy town, a communications hub that receive and distribute most tourism traffic arriving on the island, but light industry and Agriculture in the periphery, also affect the life. Heraklion is very privileged today, to have in its suburb list, famous names like Knossos, the most prominent city of the Minoan era.

Linked directly with Knossos, is the Heraklion Archaeological Museum housing most findings not only from Knossos but other Minoan Palaces like Phaestos in the south, Malia on the east and Zakros at the extreme east of Crete. There are more museums in Heraklion but those of Byzantine art and the private of Nikos Kazantzakis have to be mentioned for their importance.

Although a big city Heraklion is e very pleasant spot welcoming the visitor who can explore not only the nearby archaeological sites but also the beauties of the city itself and the nearby sandy beaches as well as the small villages in sort distance from the city. In the city but also in the greater Heraklion area there are lots of fine hotels of all categories providing high standard services together with the famous Cretan hospitality.

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