The Island & Chania
The Island of Crete
Crete is far from being just another Greek island. Its rich history, natural beauty and proud people have given it a unique character. It is over 240 kilometres in length, with a spectacular coastline and beaches to suit all tastes. As the most southerly of the Greek islands, its longer summer means that they can be enjoyed to the full from April to November. Inland, mountains snowcapped until June, gorges gushing with water, and the famous profusion of wild flowers - many unique to Crete - make the early summer, in particular, irresistible to those who appreciate natural beauty. A choice of unspoilt local sandy beaches display the blue flag for cleanliness and safety. So for holidays in Greece and Greek island villas you need look no further than Crete.
The home of the earliest Western civilisation, Crete boasts the great Minoan cities of Knossos and Phaestos and also many smaller ancient ruins. For those who want to explore its more 'recent' history, Byzantine churches, Venetian castles and Turkish minarets provide endless fascination. The distinctive music, dance and good food which play such an important part in Cretan life can all be shared by visitors. It is in the west of Crete - in village locations far from the developed tourist centres in the east of the island - that Pure Crete is to be found.
The principal town of the area is Chania, a Venetian port, whose attractive and lively harbour provides the perfect setting for an evening stroll before dinner at one of the many waterfront tavernas. Behind the harbour a maze of narrow back streets links with a mixture of old Venetian and Turkish houses, often stunningly decorated with hanging flowers. Five minutes' walk away is Chania's covered market, well-known for the wide variety of fresh produce on offer. Nearby, local handicraft shops provide a good place to find handmade leather goods, rugs and lace.
Click here for more information on Chania.
Crete is the home of the earliest Western civilisation, and Knossos is the best known and most extensively excavated Minoan city. It is central to Greek mythology and offers visitors historic treasures and endless fascination.
The Palace of Knossos. It is the largest of the preserved Minoan palatial centres. Four wings are arranged around a central courtyard, containing the royal quarters, workshops, shrines, storerooms, repositories, the throne room and banquet halls. Dated to 2000-1350 B.C.
Battle of Crete, 1941
The British and
Links to Battle of Crete websites:
Click here to read about Minoan Crete
'To the Greeks Crete seems the most authentically Greek of all the isalnds because of the lengh of its history and relative remotness from the ancient centres of war and diplomacy. Crete, for example, played no part in the Persian or the Peloponnesian wars.
'The big island' Crete is always called in the colloquial tongue, and big it is, spacious and full of the brooding presence of it's four groups of mountains.
The Cretans have seen everything - the collapse of the Minoan Empire, the rise of Venice, the slave markets of Turkey, Nazi parachutists and American hippies, nothing has been spared them.' Extract from Lawrence Durrell's The Greek Islands.
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