Heraklion Crete, Greece

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KNOSSOS

The largest and most important monument of the Minoan civilization.heraklion cup It used to be the main palace of king Minoas and it was brought to light by excavations made by Sir Arthur Evans , who also partly restored the palace. The palace used to cover an area of 20.000 sq. m. and had many floors. Admire the complex and marvelous architecture, the quality of structural materials, the beauty of murals which decorated every part of the building, the luxury of royal chambers and the extent of common areas. The site is open from 8 am to 7 pm 7 days a week.

GORTYNA

An ancient Roman city with many ruins of public buildings dating back to the 5th century BC. Those buildings include an amphitheater, a music theater, a Stadium, public baths and several temples. You can also see an extended inscription known as "The Laws of Gortyna"

THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM OF HERAKLION (+302810224630)

Here you can admire an extensive collection of findings of the Minoan era, as well ass items covering the whole period from the Neolithic era to the Roman era. The most important and glorious items from Minoan palaces all over Crete have been gathered in this museum. The collection includes statuaries, epigraphs, sarcophaguses, ceramics, murals jewellery and everyday utensils. Splendid items of Minoan art like the Goddess of snakes, unique murals, the discus of Faistos and priceless royal rings.

THE HISTORICAL MUSEUM OF HERAKLION

Even the building hosting this museum is a historical monument as well as a work of art. Here you will find items from the Byzantine and the Medieval eras such as murals, religious icons, coins and jewels. You can also find a collection of items from the Cretan revolution, and several items of Cretan folk art (costumes, weavings, embroideries, musical instruments). The museums highlight is the only original painting of El Greco in Crete.

LOTZIA

Today housing several municipal services, this building is the most elegant Venetian monument in the city of Heraklion. The decorative patterns of the construction are marvelous. In 1987 it was awarded as the best restored monument in Europe.

KOULES

A roman fortress dominating the harbor of Heraklion. The fortress was used not only as a means of protecting the city, but also as a prison.

THE LIONS' FOUNTAIN

Located near the church this elaborate fountain is something you should visit. It has a marvelous graven decoration depicting scenes from the animal and sea life. This fountain was built not only for decorative purpose, but also as a means of providing the city with water.

Other Minoan sites you should visit are:

  • The Minoan city of Faistos (including a palace)
  • The Minoan palace in Malia
  • The Minoan palace in Archanes
  • The Minoan cemetery in Archanes
  • The Minoan city of Rafkos (south of Knossos)

Other places of interest you should visit in the city of Heraklion include:

  • The city's Medieval walls
  • The St. Markos Basilica (today lodging the municipal gallery)
  • The monastery of St. Catherine (here you can also find a collection of Cretan religious paintings)
  • The Metropolitan church of St Minas
  • The tomb of Nikos Kazantzakis at Promahonas Martinego
  • Many old churches, fountains, ramparts and medieval streets
  • The Old Gate (also known as Chanioporta) which was the city's entrance to West Crete

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