The island of Crete in Greece is the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is also the largest and most populated island in Greece. There a number of villages and cities worth spending time in here, but the capital, Heraklion, is the largest. The island has been inhabited for over 130,000 years and it’s the location of the first advanced civilization in Europe, the Minoans.
This city offers such sites to visit as several ruins of Minoans palaces, a world-class archaeological museum, a few fortresses, and an Old Town with quaint shops, alleyways, and restaurants to explore.
King Minos, according to Greek mythology, built and lived in Knossos Palace around 3,000 years ago. It was excavated beginning in 1962 by the British archaeologist, Arthur Evans. The area is a vast site and Mr. Evans was able to restore some of the amazing frescoes. The palace is located just a short distance south of Heraklion.
The Archaeological Museum in Heraklion is not to be missed. It has the largest collection of ancient Minoan artifacts anywhere and is organized into 20 rooms in chronological order. You will see exhibits of vessels, statuary, jewelry, and many more objects.
Rethymno Old Town is a section of the third-largest city on Crete, Rethymno. Built in the 14th century by Venetians, Old Town is a series of picturesque alleys of cobblestone. You will find beautiful views here among the shops, restaurants, Renaissance mansions and Catholic churches.
Just over 12 ½ miles southeast of Rethymno, you’ll find the Arkadi Monastery. Legend has it that the original structured was founded by the Byzantine emporer, Arcadius, but the current edifice was built in the 16th century. The monastery is crucially important to the local population as in 1866 women and children of the area barricaded themselves in the monastery for three days against an Ottoman invasion. They chose to ignite their stores of gun powder at the end of that time, choosing the resulting explosion instead of surrender. November 8 marks the anniversary of the explosion and is observed in both Rethymno and Arkadi. There is a museum on-site which displays historical artifacts to explore.
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