The beautiful island of Crete is rich in crystal clear waters and beautiful beaches, and has been a holiday hotspot for a while now. Proof of that is the BBC show ‘Greece with Simon Reeve’, which sees the presenter travel to the largest island in Greece as part of his documentary on the country. Not only did he say that ‘Crete is a revelation’, he also thinks that Cretans are ‘extraordinary, feisty people’. And amidst the development of tourism on Crete, the island still maintains its unique character.
The Birth of Modern Europe
The history of the island is older than the history of the European continent, and it’s said that Europe’s first advanced civilisation, the Minoans, were already inventing money, buildings ships and creating trades when the rest of the continent was still behind. Even though the Minoans disappeared because of a tsunami, their influence is still felt today in modern times.
Crete has an extremely beautiful and, in places, dramatic landscape, with clusters of smaller islands also peppered around its coast. Crete is a mountainous island that possesses a wide variety of caves, gorges and plateaus, as well as rivers and lakes, and Simon Reeve took full advantage of this rugged scenery by spending time there with shepherds, listening to their stories – even going as far as saying that the highlight of his trip was probably the evening he spent, ‘eating barbecued lamb under the night sky’ with them.
There are many archaeological sites in Crete. The biggest and most famous is the Palace of Knossos, the oldest city in Europe and the Minoan’s ceremonial and economic hub. It’s massive, complex and colourful, and has a well-known legend associated with it; it is where King Minos asked Daedalus to build an underground labyrinth to trap the Minotaur.
The second largest excavation site is Phaistos Palace, not as decorated with wall paintings, but still complex in terms of design. Nearby lays the ancient cemetery with the rulers of Phaistos. The palace of Malia is also a popular digging site, since locals have been able to find many golden artefacts there, giving it the nickname of ‘gold pit’
So Crete is a treasure trove of Greek culture and gorgeous scenery, and programs like the BBC’s ‘Greece with Simon Reeve’ help to emphasise the beauty, diversity and history that characterises this island.