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The largest and most densely populate region on the island of Crete is Heraklion. Nestling picturesquely among two imposing mountain ranges Mt. Psiloritis to the west and Dikti to the east. Heraklion boasts exceptional archaeological treasures, significant coastal settlements, a series of picturesque villages, vast valleys with olive groves and vineyards as well as the best organised tourist infrastructure in Crete.


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The largest and most densely populated prefecture on the island is flanked by two mountain ranges: Psiloreitis in the west and Dikti in the east. In Heraklion are some of the Crete’s most significant archaeological sites, beautiful beaches and a charming inland with picturesque little villages, caves and gorges, plateaus and verdant valleys full of olive groves and vineyards, stately mountain ranges, and the best tourist infrastructure in Crete.
Heraklion is the largest city in Crete and one of Greece’s most important urban centres. It began to develop after the 9th cent. AD, as in antiquity the centre of the region had been Knossos and then Gortyna. Later, Heraklion was conquered successively by the Arabs, Venetians and Ottomans, who gave it the names of Kandakas and Candia.
The city of Heraklion reflects the various cultures that flourished through the centuries. Byzantine structures stand beside Venetian public and private buildings and Ottoman edifices.
In the Heraklion market, one of the richest in the Mediterranean, you can find modern products of all kinds, as well as traditional Cretan goods, such as its famous oil, raki, the local wine, honey, herbs etc.
Also a short distance away, in the Hersonisos region, a modern golf course has been operating in recent years, for beginners and experienced golfers alike.
The Archaeological Museum is one of the most important museums in Greece, as it contains almost all the treasures of the Minoan civilization that were found in Knossos, Phaistos, Malia and other sites. Also worth visiting are the History Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Cretaquarium in the Fourni area.
Five kilometers south of Heraklion is Knossos, one of the most significant archaeological sites in Europe. Knossos was the most important centre of the Minoan Civilization from 1900 to 1400 BC. In the same area are the ruins of Minoan Crete’s largest palace, which passed through two architectural stages and was destroyed by the major Santorini earthquake (1450 BC). On the site are the ruins of the Minoan palace, the houses of officials and priests, and those of the inhabitants, as well as their cemeteries. The palace was a labyrinthine structure, built around a central courtyard. It occupied an area of 22,000 m.2 and included, in addition to the royal apartments, religious sites, treasuries, workshops and storage areas.

Source: Visit Greece - The οfficial website of the Greek Tourism Organisation