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Crete

Crete ( Kriti, occasionally spelled "Krete" in English) is the largest of the Greek islands and is in the Mediterranean Sea between the Sea of Crete and the Libyan Sea, south of the Peloponnese. Crete is approximately 260 km long and 60 km wide. Crete consists of four prefectures: Chania, Rethimno, Heraklion and Lasithi. If there was a beauty contest for Greek islands, Crete would surely be among the favorites. Indeed, some say there is no place on earth like Crete. This view is strongly supported by those fortunate enough to have visited the island. Crete, with a population of approximately 650,000, is not just sun, sea and sand; it is a quite distinct place full of vitality, warmth, hospitality, culture and of course an excellent infrastructure. Crete is well known for its seas and beaches but it has a very contrasting landscape. The island goes from fertile coastal plains to rugged mountains and from busy metropolitan cities to very peaceful hillside villages. If you travel throughout Crete you can clearly see remnants of Roman and Turkish aqueducts and architecture from when these people invaded the island long ago. You will also find ancient Minoan ruins around the island. Ancient Crete is the civilization that existed on the island of Crete, just south of Greece, in the Mediterranean Sea. From around 3560–1400 B.C., inhabitants known as Minoans controlled Crete and ruled the island in autonomous city states. Although the Minoans were able to rise to a position of political and economic dominance during this time, their civilization and subsequent control over Crete was destroyed by a large volcanic eruption 300 km away, layering it in hot volcanic ash. It is from this period onward that Crete began to fall under the control of the nearby Greek city-states and eventually the Roman Empire. Minoan palace in Knossos. Crete was the center of the Minoan civilization, a sophisticated Bronze Age culture from 2600-1150 B.C.: the island bears witness to their achievements in the form of palaces, tombs and sacred sites. This civilization was so sophisticated that they even had a large navy. The Minoan decline was likely initiated by tsunami waves from the eruption of a huge volcano in Santorini, Greece in 1450 B.C. Towards the end of the Late Bronze Age, the Minoans were superseded by Mycenaeans from the Greek mainland. Thereafter, Crete very much followed in the classical mainstream of Greece and - much later - Rome. Crete was invaded by Romans from 69-330 A.C. and this period of time plus the Byzantine era actually brought much wealth to the Island. The beauty and wealth of this time can still be seen today by mosaics and monuments around the island. Cretan hospitality shares the characteristics of its famous landscape: grand, generous and infinitely welcoming. Cretan hospitality will be unforgettable! Here you’ll eat to your heart’s content, whether enjoying gourmet gastronomy, or simply a homemade rusk salad with sea salt, extra-virgin olive oil, raw artichokes and cheese. Discover the secrets of a Cretan diet – after all, Cretan cuisine is the best example of the Mediterranean diet that has long been considered, internationally, as the healthiest. Crete captivates and seduces the senses with its impressive and majestic landscape, with its openhearted and vivacious spirit, its rich history, its world-famous food and its hospitable people.


Recommended in Crete.

CRETE

Crete


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