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Dimokratias Street 17  & Filondidou Zotou 18 L.Hersonisou Crete Greece P.C. 70014

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CRETE

Old map of CreteOld map of Crete

 

Birthplace of Zeus and cradle of Europe’s earliest civilization, Crete is justifiably known as the  of the story; a substantial land in its own right, Crete can also boast enticingly cosmopolitan cities, a host of fascinating historic towns and unspoiled villages and mountains high enough to keep snow on their peaks well into summer.

The island is one of the few Greek islands that could probably support itself without tourists. So although tourism is an important part of the economy, traditional life also survives, along with the hospitality that forms part of that tradition.

 

 

 

The mountains, which dominate the view as you approach run from one end of the island to the other, and make all but the shortest journey inland an expedition.They are perhaps the island’s greatest sur

White mountains Samaria gorge entrance XyloscaloWhite mountains Samaria gorge entrance Xyloscaloprise and biggest reward, providing welcome relief in the heat of summer, giving Crete much of its character, and making the place feel much larger than it really is. Cut through by gorges and studded by caves, they offer fabulous walking too, from easy strolls to strenuous climbs, as well as huge variety of habitats for wildlife, including many large birds of prey. For birdwatchers and wildflower spotters, Crete is a rich source of excitement.

 

 

 

 

 

Cretan food can also prove an unexpected bonus. 

Cretan nutritionCretan nutritionThe traditionally produced and locally source produce-sun-ripened fruit and vegetables especially- are exceptional, and there’s an increasing awareness of culinary traditions. In fashionable cities restaurants, grandma’s recipes are being rediscovered to great effect, while in more rustic village or beachside taverns, the age-old combination of superb ingredients, simply served, has never been forgotten.

 

 

 

 

 An extraordinary history plays a large part in Crete’s appeal, too.

Knossos Palace MinoansKnossos Palace Minoans

It was more than four thousand years ago that the island’s story began to be shaped, when, from around 2000BC, the Minoans developed an advanced and cultured society at the center of a substantial maritime trading empire: the first real European civilization.

In 1900 the archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans (1851-1941) discovered a large number of clay tablets inscribed with mysterious symbols at Knossos on Crete. Believing he had discovered the palace of King Minos, together with the Minotaur's labyrinth, Evans dubed the inscriptions and the language they represented as 'Minoan'.

Evans spent the rest of his life trying to decipher the inscriptions, with only limited success. He realised that the inscriptions represented three different writing systems: a 'hieroglyphic' script, Linear A and Linear B.

Linear b Linear b

Linear B logogramsLinear B logograms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The artworks produced on Crete at this time are unsurpassed anywhere in the ancient world, and it seems clear, as you wander through the Minoan 

Minoan art Archaeological museum of HeraklionMinoan art Archaeological museum of HeraklionPhaistos DiscPhaistos Disc

palaces and towns, that life on the island has seen, Crete was home to a civilization well ahead of its time.

 

The island’s positions, strategic meeting point between east and west has played a crucial role in its subsequent history.

The Greek flag was raised over Crete barely one hundred years ago in 1913. For two thousand years and more before that the island was fought over by others-subject to Rome, Byzantium and Venice before being subsumed into the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

During World War II Crete was occupied by the Germans and gained the dubious distinction of being the first place to be successfully invaded by parachute.

Each one of these diverse rulers has left some mark, and more importantly they have imprinted on the islanders a personality toughened by constant struggles for 

independence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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