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Discover the beauties of Heraklion
Five thousand years of history in a magnificent city by the sea!
The metropolis of Crete. Heraklion is a multi-faceted city where you can visit many world-famous attractions that bridge the gap between the past and the present. Yesterday's Heraklion, with its Venetian port and walls, ideal for a nostalgic stroll through history. And today's lively city with the massive town squares and pedestrian zones with youthful energy, raki (traditional drink), ouzo, gourmet restaurants and luxury hotels. Plus several world-class museums and one of the largest aquariums in Europe. Just beyond the city limits is one of the essential sights in Greece. The glorious Knossos, the main centre of Minoan culture, the palace of King Minos and the Minotaur myth.
The church of Agios Titos, which the Byzantine emperor initially built, is impressive. Also worth a look is the "Armeria" (weapons store) next to St. Titus and the Loggia (town hall) with 82 metopes and beautiful arcades. Directly opposite is Morosini Square with the lion's head fountain. A walk to Eleftheria Square is worth it because of the imposing buildings of the Palace of Justice and the Heraklion prefecture.
At the entrance to the Venetian port of Heraklion, the "Koules" fortress looks proudly over the sea. It was built by the Venetians and restored several times and served as a prison during the Ottoman rule. The port with its Venetian shipyards offers a uniquely romantic backdrop. Don't forget your camera!
The 'mythical' Knossos
Mastercraftsman Daedalus built the labyrinth for the mythical King Minos to control the Minotaur, a half-human creature, half-bull. Theseus, the son of the king of Athens, killed him and found his way out of the labyrinth with Minos' daughter Ariadne's help. The main centre of Minoan culture and one of Greece's most famous archaeological sites is only 5 km from Heraklion.
The archaeological museum: a "panorama" of Minoan Crete
The famous museum is considered to be one of the most important museums in Europe. The exhibits include representative samples from all eras of Crete's history and cover a span of 5500 years. The frescoes "the bullfighter", "the prince with the lilies", "the monkey collecting saffron", "the blue ladies", and "the Parisian woman" are on display. The new wing of the museum opened in August 2013 with exhibits from geometric, archaic, classical and Roman times.