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Greece, Crete

Welcome to Crete!
Covering 8232 sq km, Crete is Greece's largest island. From west to east, Crete stretches over approx. 260 km, whereas it only measures between 12 and 62 km between the north and the south. The island is home to approx. 600000 inhabitants. According to Greek mythology, Crete is the birthplace of the European continent. Crete's landscape is coined by four mountain ranges, of which the Ida mountain range is the highest. The White Mountains are located in the West, the Dikiti massif is in the middle-East, and the Sintia Mountains are located in the Mediterranean island's far east. The more than 3000 stalactite caves are among Crete's distinct scenic features.

The Mediterranean's fifth-largest island boasts of breathtaking historical and cultural sights, and of diverse beauties of nature. Crete is the vacation destination for bathing enthusiasts, friends of nature, hikers, and those interested in culture. Especially the coasts with the beautiful bays, the ragged cliff line, and the inland emphasize the island's scenic diversity. The vegetation is coined by the Mediterranean climate. Pomegranate trees, olive trees, daffodils, and many other plants can be found here, and will be a source of delight for nature lovers.
Verifiably, Crete has been populated since 6000 BC. The Minoan palaces in Knossos, Phaistos, Malia, and Kato Zakros originate in around 2000 BC; however, most of these palaces were destroyed in 1450 BC by Mycenaean troops. Before Crete became a Roman province, it was the age of the Greek city states (800 - 67 BC). After the Roman rule, the island became part of the Byzantine Empire. In 1204, after the 4th crusade, Crete was affiliated with Venice. When the island was conquered by the Turkish in 1645, Crete became a part of the Ottoman Empire.


With help by the European Great Powers, Crete was freed from Turkish rule in 1898 and ultimately became part of the Greek state in 1913.
In light of Crete's long history and various occupation epochs, one can experience very diverse cultures and remnants of past civilizations on the island. Besides Minoan and Byzantine art, one can also find Venetian architecture and Cretan culture. Among the latter are the Mantinades and the Rizitika, which are emotional, traditional Cretan songs, which are accompanied by the Lyra and the Laouto. In the evening one can watch the locals dance. The most common dances are the Pentozalis, the Chaniotikos, and the Sousta. The traditional folk art is a very special experience, but one should not miss out on the culture and sights from times long gone. Hiking enthusiasts, water sports fans, and sun worshippers will be excited about the manifold sports and leisure time activities on offer.


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