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This article is about the Greek island. Crete_sentence_0

For other uses, see Crete (disambiguation). Crete_sentence_1


Crete (Kriti)Crete_table_caption_0
Native name: ΚρήτηCrete_header_cell_0_0_0
LocationCrete_header_cell_0_2_0 Eastern MediterraneanCrete_cell_0_2_1
CoordinatesCrete_header_cell_0_3_0 Crete_cell_0_3_1
AreaCrete_header_cell_0_4_0 8,450 km (3,260 sq mi)Crete_cell_0_4_1
Area rankCrete_header_cell_0_5_0 88Crete_cell_0_5_1
Highest elevationCrete_header_cell_0_6_0 2,456 m (8058 ft)Crete_cell_0_6_1
Highest pointCrete_header_cell_0_7_0 Mount Ida (Psiloritis)Crete_cell_0_7_1
RegionCrete_header_cell_0_9_0 CreteCrete_cell_0_9_1
Capital cityCrete_header_cell_0_10_0 HeraklionCrete_cell_0_10_1
Largest settlementCrete_header_cell_0_11_0 Heraklion (pop. 211,370)Crete_cell_0_11_1
DemonymCrete_header_cell_0_13_0 , archaicCrete_cell_0_13_1
PopulationCrete_header_cell_0_14_0 634,930 (2019)Crete_cell_0_14_1
Population rankCrete_header_cell_0_15_0 73Crete_cell_0_15_1
Pop. densityCrete_header_cell_0_16_0 75/km (194/sq mi)Crete_cell_0_16_1
Ethnic groupsCrete_header_cell_0_17_0 Greeks;

historically, Minoans, Eteocretans,

Cydonians and PelasgiansCrete_cell_0_17_1
Additional informationCrete_header_cell_0_18_0
Time zoneCrete_header_cell_0_19_0 Crete_cell_0_19_1

Crete (Greek: Κρήτη, Modern: Kríti, Ancient: Krḗtē, [krέːtεː) is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the 88th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus and Corsica. Crete_sentence_2

It bounds the southern border of the Aegean Sea. Crete_sentence_3

Crete rests approximately 160 km (99 mi) south of the Greek mainland. Crete_sentence_4

It has an area of 8,336 km (3,219 sq mi) and a coastline of 1,046 km (650 mi). Crete_sentence_5

Crete and a number of islands and islets that surround it constitute the Region of Crete (Greek: Περιφέρεια Κρήτης), which is the southernmost of the 13 top-level administrative units of Greece, and the fifth most populous of Greece‘s regions. Crete_sentence_6

Its capital and largest city is Heraklion, located on the north shore of the island. Crete_sentence_7

As of 2011, the region had a population of 623,065. Crete_sentence_8

The Dodecanese are located to the northeast of Crete, while the Cyclades are situated to the north, separated by the Sea of Crete. Crete_sentence_9

The Peloponnese is to the region's northwest. Crete_sentence_10

Humans have inhabited the island since at least 130,000 years ago, during the Paleolithic age. Crete_sentence_11

Crete was the centre of Europe's first advanced civilization, the Minoans, from 2700 to 1420 BC. Crete_sentence_12

The Minoan civilization was overrun by the Mycenaean civilization from mainland Greece. Crete_sentence_13

Crete was later ruled by Rome, then successively by the Byzantine Empire, Andalusian Arabs, the Venetian Republic, and the Ottoman Empire. Crete_sentence_14

In 1898 Crete, whose people had for some time wanted to join the Greek state, achieved independence from the Ottomans, formally becoming the Cretan State. Crete_sentence_15

Crete became part of Greece in December 1913. Crete_sentence_16

The island is mostly mountainous, and its character is defined by a high mountain range crossing from west to east. Crete_sentence_17

It includes Crete's highest point, Mount Ida, and the range of the White Mountains (Lefka Ori) with 30 summits above 2000 metres in altitude and the Samaria Gorge, a World Biosphere Reserve. Crete_sentence_18

Crete forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece, while retaining its own local cultural traits (such as its own poetry and music). Crete_sentence_19

The Nikos Kazantzakis airport at Heraklion and the Daskalogiannis airport at Chania serve international travelers. Crete_sentence_20

The palace of Knossos, a Bronze Age settlement and ancient Minoan city, is also located in Heraklion. Crete_sentence_21

Name Crete_section_0

The earliest references to the island of Crete come from texts from the Syrian city of Mari dating from the 18th century BC, where the island is referred to as Kaptara. Crete_sentence_22

This is repeated later in Neo-Assyrian records and the Bible (Caphtor). Crete_sentence_23

It was known in ancient Egyptian as Keftiu or kftı͗w, strongly suggesting a similar Minoan name for the island. Crete_sentence_24

The current name "Crete" is first attested in the 15th century BC in Mycenaean Greek texts, written in Linear B, through the words ke-re-te (*Krētes; later Greek: Κρῆτες [krɛː.tes, plural of Κρής [krɛːs) and ke-re-si-jo (*Krēsijos; later Greek: Κρήσιος [krέːsios, "Cretan"). Crete_sentence_25

In Ancient Greek, the name Crete (Κρήτη) first appears in Homer's Odyssey. Crete_sentence_26

Its etymology is unknown. Crete_sentence_27

One proposal derives it from a hypothetical Luwian word *kursatta (cf. Crete_sentence_28

kursawar "island", kursattar "cutting, sliver"). Crete_sentence_29

In Latin, the name of the island became Creta. Crete_sentence_30

The original Arabic name of Crete was Iqrīṭiš (Arabic: اقريطش‎ < (της) Κρήτης), but after the Emirate of Crete's establishment of its new capital at ربض الخندق Rabḍ al-Ḫandaq (modern Iraklion), both the city and the island became known as Χάνδαξ (Chandax) or Χάνδακας (Chandakas), which gave Latin, Italian, and Venetian Candia, from which were derived French Candie and English Candy or Candia. Crete_sentence_31

Under Ottoman rule, in Ottoman Turkish, Crete was called Girit (كريت). Crete_sentence_32

Physical geography Crete_section_1

Main article: Geography of Greece Crete_sentence_33

Crete is the largest island in Greece and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Crete_sentence_34

It is located in the southern part of the Aegean Sea separating the Aegean from the Libyan Sea. Crete_sentence_35

Island morphology Crete_section_2

The island has an elongated shape: it spans 260 km (160 mi) from east to west, is 60 km (37 mi) at its widest point, and narrows to as little as 12 km (7.5 mi) (close to Ierapetra). Crete_sentence_36

Crete covers an area of 8,336 km (3,219 sq mi), with a coastline of 1,046 km (650 mi); to the north, it broaches the Sea of Crete (Greek: Κρητικό Πέλαγος); to the south, the South Cretian Sea (Greek: Νότιο Κρητικό Πέλαγος); in the west, the Myrtoan Sea, and toward the east the Karpathian Sea. Crete_sentence_37

It lies approximately 160 km (99 mi) south of the Greek mainland. Crete_sentence_38

Mountains and valleys Crete_section_3

Crete is mountainous, and its character is defined by a high mountain range crossing from west to east, formed by six different groups of mountains: Crete_sentence_39


  • The White Mountains or Lefka Ori 2,454 m (8,051 ft)Crete_item_0_0
  • The Idi Range (Psiloritis 2,456 m (8,058 ft)Crete_item_0_1
  • Asterousia Mountains 1,231 m (4,039 ft)Crete_item_0_2
  • Kedros 1,777 m (5,830 ft)Crete_item_0_3
  • The Dikti Mountains 2,148 m (7,047 ft)Crete_item_0_4
  • Thripti 1,489 m (4,885 ft)Crete_item_0_5

These mountains lavish Crete with valleys, such as Amari valley, fertile plateaus, such as Lasithi plateau, Omalos and Nidha; caves, such as Gourgouthakas, Diktaion, and Idaion (the birthplace of the ancient Greek god Zeus); and a number of gorges. Crete_sentence_40

Mountains in Crete are the object of tremendous fascination both for locals and tourists. Crete_sentence_41

The mountains have been seen as a key feature of the island's distinctiveness, especially since the time of Romantic travellers' writing. Crete_sentence_42

Contemporary Cretans distinguish between highlanders and lowlanders; the former often claim to reside in places affording a higher/better climatic but also moral environment. Crete_sentence_43

In keeping with the legacy of Romantic authors, the mountains are seen as having determined their residents' 'resistance' to past invaders which relates to the oft-encountered idea that highlanders are 'purer' in terms of less intermarriages with occupiers. Crete_sentence_44

For residents of mountainous areas, such as Sfakia in western Crete, the aridness and rockiness of the mountains is emphasised as an element of pride and is often compared to the alleged soft-soiled mountains of others parts of Greece or the world. Crete_sentence_45

Gorges, rivers and lakes Crete_section_4

The island has a number of gorges, such as the Samariá Gorge, Imbros Gorge, Kourtaliotiko Gorge, Ha Gorge, Platania Gorge, the Gorge of the Dead (at Kato Zakros, Sitia) and Richtis Gorge and (Richtis) waterfall at Exo Mouliana in Sitia. Crete_sentence_46

The rivers of Crete include the Ieropotamos River, the Koiliaris, the Anapodiaris, the Almiros, the Giofyros, and Megas Potamos. Crete_sentence_47

There are only two freshwater lakes in Crete: Lake Kournas and Lake Agia, which are both in Chania regional unit. Crete_sentence_48

Lake Voulismeni at the coast, at Aghios Nikolaos, was formerly a freshwater lake but is now connected to the sea, in Lasithi. Crete_sentence_49

Three artificial lakes created by dams also exist in Crete: the lake of Aposelemis Dam, the lake of Potamos Dam, and the lake of Mpramiana Dam. Crete_sentence_50


  • Crete_item_1_6
  • Crete_item_1_7
  • Crete_item_1_8
  • Crete_item_1_9

Surrounding islands Crete_section_5

Main article: List of Greek islands Crete_sentence_51

A large number of islands, islets, and rocks hug the coast of Crete. Crete_sentence_52

Many are visited by tourists, some are only visited by archaeologists and biologists. Crete_sentence_53

Some are environmentally protected. Crete_sentence_54

A small sample of the islands includes: Crete_sentence_55


  • Gramvousa (Kissamos, Chania) the pirate island opposite the Balo lagoonCrete_item_2_10
  • Elafonisi (Chania), which commemorates a shipwreck and an Ottoman massacreCrete_item_2_11
  • Chrysi island (Ierapetra, Lasithi), which hosts the largest natural Lebanon cedar forest in EuropeCrete_item_2_12
  • Paximadia island (Agia Galini, Rethymno) where the god Apollo and the goddess Artemis were bornCrete_item_2_13
  • The Venetian fort and leper colony at Spinalonga opposite the beach and shallow waters of Elounda (Agios Nikolaos, Lasithi)Crete_item_2_14
  • Dionysades islands which are in an environmentally protected region together the Palm Beach Forest of Vai in the municipality of Sitia, LasithiCrete_item_2_15

Off the south coast, the island of Gavdos is located 26 nautical miles (48 km) south of Hora Sfakion and is the southernmost point of Europe. Crete_sentence_56

Climate Crete_section_6

Main article: Climate of Greece Crete_sentence_57

Crete straddles two climatic zones, the Mediterranean and the North African, mainly falling within the former. Crete_sentence_58

As such, the climate in Crete is primarily Mediterranean. Crete_sentence_59

The atmosphere can be quite humid, depending on the proximity to the sea, while winter is fairly mild. Crete_sentence_60

Snowfall is common on the mountains between November and May, but rare in the low-lying areas. Crete_sentence_61

While some mountain tops are snow-capped for most of the year, near the coast snow only stays on the ground for a few minutes or hours. Crete_sentence_62

However, a truly exceptional cold snap swept the island in February 2004, during which period the whole island was blanketed with snow. Crete_sentence_63

During the Cretan summer, average temperatures reach the high 20s-low 30s Celsius (mid 80s to mid 90s Fahrenheit), with maxima touching the upper 30s-mid 40s. Crete_sentence_64

The south coast, including the Mesara Plain and Asterousia Mountains, falls in the North African climatic zone, and thus enjoys significantly more sunny days and high temperatures throughout the year. Crete_sentence_65

There, date palms bear fruit, and swallows remain year-round rather than migrate to Africa. Crete_sentence_66

The fertile region around Ierapetra, on the southeastern corner of the island, is renowned for its exceptional year-round agricultural production, with all kinds of summer vegetables and fruit produced in greenhouses throughout the winter. Crete_sentence_67

Western Crete (Chania province) receives more rain and the soils there suffer more erosion compared to the Eastern part of Crete. Crete_sentence_68

Geography Crete_section_7

Crete is the most populous island in Greece with a population of more than 600,000 people. Crete_sentence_69

Approximately 42% live in Crete's main cities and towns whilst 45% live in rural areas. Crete_sentence_70

Administration Crete_section_8


Crete Region

Περιφέρεια ΚρήτηςCrete_header_cell_1_0_0

CountryCrete_header_cell_1_1_0 GreeceCrete_cell_1_1_1
EstablishedCrete_header_cell_1_2_0 1912Crete_cell_1_2_1
CapitalCrete_header_cell_1_3_0 HeraklionCrete_cell_1_3_1
Regional unitsCrete_header_cell_1_4_0 ListCrete_cell_1_4_1
Regional governorCrete_header_cell_1_6_0 Stavros Arnaoutakis (PASOK)Crete_cell_1_6_1
TotalCrete_header_cell_1_8_0 8,335.88 km (3,218.50 sq mi)Crete_cell_1_8_1
Population (2011)Crete_header_cell_1_9_0
TotalCrete_header_cell_1_10_0 623,065Crete_cell_1_10_1
DensityCrete_header_cell_1_11_0 75/km (190/sq mi)Crete_cell_1_11_1
Time zoneCrete_header_cell_1_12_0 UTC+2 (EET)Crete_cell_1_12_1
Summer (DST)Crete_header_cell_1_13_0 UTC+3 (EEST)Crete_cell_1_13_1
ISO 3166 codeCrete_header_cell_1_14_0 GR-MCrete_cell_1_14_1
WebsiteCrete_header_cell_1_15_0 Crete_cell_1_15_1

Crete with its nearby islands form the Crete Region (Greek: Περιφέρεια Κρήτης, Periféria Krítis, [periˈferia ˈkritis), one of the 13 regions of Greece which were established in the 1987 administrative reform. Crete_sentence_71

Under the 2010 Kallikratis plan, the powers and authority of the regions were redefined and extended. Crete_sentence_72

The region is based at Heraklion and is divided into four regional units (pre-Kallikratis prefectures). Crete_sentence_73

From west to east these are: Chania, Rethymno, Heraklion, and Lasithi. Crete_sentence_74

These are further subdivided into 24 municipalities. Crete_sentence_75

The region's governor is, since 1 January 2011, Stavros Arnaoutakis, who was elected in the November 2010 local administration elections for the Panhellenic Socialist Movement. Crete_sentence_76

Cities Crete_section_9

Main article: Cities of Greece Crete_sentence_77

Heraklion is the largest city and capital of Crete. Crete_sentence_78

Chania was the capital until 1971. Crete_sentence_79

The principal cities are: Crete_sentence_80


  • Heraklion (Iraklion or Candia) (151,324 inhabitants)Crete_item_3_16
  • Chania (Haniá) (53,910 inhabitants)Crete_item_3_17
  • Rethymno (34,300 inhabitants)Crete_item_3_18
  • Ierapetra (23,707 inhabitants)Crete_item_3_19
  • Agios Nikolaos (20,679 inhabitants)Crete_item_3_20
  • Sitia (14,338 inhabitants)Crete_item_3_21


  • Crete_item_4_22
  • Crete_item_4_23
  • Crete_item_4_24

Economy Crete_section_10

Further information: Economy of Greece Crete_sentence_81

The economy of Crete is predominantly based on services and tourism. Crete_sentence_82

However, agriculture also plays an important role and Crete is one of the few Greek islands that can support itself independently without a tourism industry. Crete_sentence_83

The economy began to change visibly during the 1970s as tourism gained in importance. Crete_sentence_84

Although an emphasis remains on agriculture and stock breeding, because of the climate and terrain of the island, there has been a drop in manufacturing, and an observable expansion in its service industries (mainly tourism-related). Crete_sentence_85

All three sectors of the Cretan economy (agriculture/farming, processing-packaging, services), are directly connected and interdependent. Crete_sentence_86

The island has a per capita income much higher than the Greek average, whereas unemployment is at approximately 4%, one-sixth of that of the country overall. Crete_sentence_87

As in many regions of Greece, viticulture and olive groves are significant; oranges, citrons and avocadoes are also cultivated. Crete_sentence_88

Until recently there were restrictions on the import of bananas to Greece, therefore bananas were grown on the island, predominantly in greenhouses. Crete_sentence_89

Dairy products are important to the local economy and there are a number of speciality cheeses such as mizithra, anthotyros, and kefalotyri. Crete_sentence_90

The Gross domestic product (GDP) of the region was €9.4 billion in 2018, accounting for 5.1% of Greek economic output. Crete_sentence_91

GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power was €17,800 or 59% of the EU27 average in the same year. Crete_sentence_92

The GDP per employee was 68% of the EU average. Crete_sentence_93

Crete is the region in Greece with the fifth highest GDP per capita. Crete_sentence_94

Transport infrastructure Crete_section_11

Airports Crete_section_12

The island has three significant airports, Nikos Kazantzakis at Heraklion, the Daskalogiannis airport at Chania and a smaller one in Sitia. Crete_sentence_95

The first two serve international routes, acting as the main gateways to the island for travellers. Crete_sentence_96

There is a long-standing plan to replace Heraklion airport with a completely new airport at Kastelli, where there is presently an air force base. Crete_sentence_97

Ferries Crete_section_13

The island is well served by ferries, mostly from Athens, by ferry companies such as Minoan Lines and ANEK Lines. Crete_sentence_98

Road Network Crete_section_14

Although the road network leads almost everywhere, there is a lack of modern highways, although this is gradually changing with the completion of the northern coastal spine highway. Crete_sentence_99

In addition, a European study has been devised from European Union to promote a modern highway that will connect the North and the South parts of the island via a tunnel. Crete_sentence_100

According to the study the project should be include 15.7 km of section of road between the villages Agia Varvara and Agia Deka in central Crete, benefits both tourists and local people by improving the accessibility to the southern part of the island and lessen the accidents. Crete_sentence_101

The new road section forms part of the route between Messara in the south and Crete's capital city Heraklion, which provides the island's airport and principal sea port link with mainland Greece. Crete_sentence_102

Traffic speeds on the new road will increase by 19 km/hour (from 29 km/hours to 48 km/hour), which should reduce journey times between Messara and Heraklion by 55 minutes. Crete_sentence_103

The scheme is also expected to improve road safety by cutting the number of accidents along the route. Crete_sentence_104

Building works include construction of three road tunnels, five bridges and three junctions. Crete_sentence_105

This project is expected to create 44 jobs during the implementation phase. Crete_sentence_106

The investment falls under Greece's "Improvement of Accessibility" Operational Programme. Crete_sentence_107

The programme aims to improve the country's transport infrastructures as well as its international connections. Crete_sentence_108

It will therefore have a key role to play in making Greece's remote and landlocked regions more accessible and economically attractive. Crete_sentence_109

This Operational Programme works to link Greece's more prosperous and less developed regions, which should help to promote greater territorial cohesion. Crete_sentence_110

Total investment for the project "Completion of construction of the section of Ag. Crete_sentence_111

Varvara - Ag. Crete_sentence_112

Deka (Kastelli) (22+170 km to 37+900 km) of the vertical road axis Irakleio – Messara in the prefecture of Irakleio, Kriti" is EUR 102 273 321, of which the EU's European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 86 932 323 from the Operational Programme "Improvement of Accessibility" for the 2007 to 2013 programming period. Crete_sentence_113

Work falls under the priority "Road Transport – trans-European and trans-regional route network of the regions on the Convergence objective". Crete_sentence_114

Railway Crete_section_15

Also, during the 1930s there was a narrow-gauge industrial railway in Heraklion, from Giofyros in the west side of the city to the port. Crete_sentence_115

There are now no railway lines on Crete. Crete_sentence_116

The government is planning the construction of a line from Chania to Heraklion via Rethymno. Crete_sentence_117

Development Crete_section_16

Newspapers have reported that the Ministry of Mercantile Marine is ready to support the agreement between Greece, South Korea, Dubai Ports World and China for the construction of a large international container port and free trade zone in southern Crete near Tympaki; the plan is to expropriate 850 ha of land. Crete_sentence_118

The port would handle 2 million containers per year, but the project has not been universally welcomed because of its environmental, economic and cultural impact. Crete_sentence_119

As of January 2013, the project has still not been confirmed, although there is mounting pressure to approve it, arising from Greece's difficult economic situation. Crete_sentence_120

There are plans for underwater cables going from mainland Greece to Israel and Egypt passing by Crete and Cyprus: EuroAfrica Interconnector and EuroAsia Interconnector. Crete_sentence_121

They would connect Crete electrically with mainland Greece, ending energy isolation of Crete. Crete_sentence_122

Now Hellenic Republic covers for Crete electricity costs difference of around €300 million per year. Crete_sentence_123

History Crete_section_17

Main article: History of Crete Crete_sentence_124

Hominids settled in Crete at least 130,000 years ago. Crete_sentence_125

In the later Neolithic and Bronze Age periods, under the Minoans, Crete had a highly developed, literate civilization. Crete_sentence_126

It has been ruled by various ancient Greek entities, the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Emirate of Crete, the Republic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire. Crete_sentence_127

After a brief period of independence (1897–1913) under a provisional Cretan government, it joined the Kingdom of Greece. Crete_sentence_128

It was occupied by Nazi Germany during the Second World War. Crete_sentence_129

Prehistoric Crete Crete_section_18

Main article: Prehistoric Crete Crete_sentence_130

In 2002, the paleontologist Gerard Gierlinski discovered fossil footprints left by ancient human relatives 5,600,000 years ago. Crete_sentence_131

The first human settlement in Crete dates before 130,000 years ago, during the Paleolithic age. Crete_sentence_132

Settlements dating to the aceramic Neolithic in the 7th millennium BC, used cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and dogs as well as domesticated cereals and legumes; ancient Knossos was the site of one of these major Neolithic (then later Minoan) sites. Crete_sentence_133

Other neolithic settlements include those at Kephala, Magasa, and Trapeza. Crete_sentence_134

Minoan civilization Crete_section_19

Main article: Minoan civilization Crete_sentence_135

Crete was the centre of Europe's first advanced civilization, the Minoan (c. 2700–1420 BC). Crete_sentence_136

This civilization wrote in the undeciphered script known as Linear A. Crete_sentence_137

Early Cretan history is replete with legends such as those of King Minos, Theseus and the Minotaur, passed on orally via poets such as Homer. Crete_sentence_138

The volcanic eruption of Thera may have been the cause of the downfall of the Minoan civilization. Crete_sentence_139

Mycenaean civilization Crete_section_20

Main article: Mycenaean Greece Crete_sentence_140

In 1420 BC, the Minoan civilization was overrun by the Mycenaean civilization from mainland Greece. Crete_sentence_141

The oldest samples of writing in the Greek language, as identified by Michael Ventris, is the Linear B archive from Knossos, dated approximately to 1425–1375 BC. Crete_sentence_142

Archaic and Classical period Crete_section_21

After the Bronze Age collapse, Crete was settled by new waves of Greeks from the mainland. Crete_sentence_143

A number of city states developed in the Archaic period. Crete_sentence_144

There was very limited contact with mainland Greece, and Greek historiography shows little interest in Crete, and as a result, there are very few literary sources. Crete_sentence_145

During the 6th to 4th centuries BC, Crete was comparatively free from warfare. Crete_sentence_146

The Gortyn code (5th century BC) is evidence for how codified civil law established a balance between aristocratic power and civil rights. Crete_sentence_147

In the late 4th century BC, the aristocratic order began to collapse due to endemic infighting among the elite, and Crete's economy was weakened by prolonged wars between city states. Crete_sentence_148

During the 3rd century BC, Gortyn, Kydonia (Chania), Lyttos and Polyrrhenia challenged the primacy of ancient Knossos. Crete_sentence_149

While the cities continued to prey upon one another, they invited into their feuds mainland powers like Macedon and its rivals Rhodes and Ptolemaic Egypt. Crete_sentence_150

In 220 BC the island was tormented by a war between two opposing coalitions of cities. Crete_sentence_151

As a result, the Macedonian king Philip V gained hegemony over Crete which lasted to the end of the Cretan War (205–200 BC), when the Rhodians opposed the rise of Macedon and the Romans started to interfere in Cretan affairs. Crete_sentence_152

In the 2nd century BC Ierapytna (Ierapetra) gained supremacy on eastern Crete. Crete_sentence_153

Roman rule Crete_section_22

Main article: Crete and Cyrenaica Crete_sentence_154

Crete was involved in the Mithridatic Wars, initially repelling an attack by Roman general Marcus Antonius Creticus in 71 BC. Crete_sentence_155

Nevertheless, a ferocious three-year campaign soon followed under Quintus Caecilius Metellus, equipped with three legions and Crete was finally conquered by Rome in 69 BC, earning for Metellus the title "Creticus". Crete_sentence_156

Gortyn was made capital of the island, and Crete became a Roman province, along with Cyrenaica that was called Creta et Cyrenaica. Crete_sentence_157

Archaeological remains suggest that Crete under Roman rule witnessed prosperity and increased connectivity with other parts of the Empire. Crete_sentence_158

In the 2nd century AD, at least three cities in Crete (Lyttos, Gortyn, Hierapytna) joined the Panhellenion, a league of Greek cities founded by the emperor Hadrian. Crete_sentence_159

When Diocletian redivided the Empire, Crete was placed, along with Cyrene, under the diocese of Moesia, and later by Constantine I to the diocese of Macedonia. Crete_sentence_160

Byzantine Empire – first period Crete_section_23

Main article: Byzantine Crete Crete_sentence_161

Crete was separated from Cyrenaica c. 297. Crete_sentence_162

It remained a province within the eastern half of the Roman Empire, usually referred to as the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire after the establishment of a second capital in Constantinople by Constantine in 330. Crete_sentence_163

Crete was subjected to an attack by Vandals in 467, the great earthquakes of 365 and 415, a raid by Slavs in 623, Arab raids in 654 and the 670s, and again in the 8th century. Crete_sentence_164

In c. 732, the Emperor Leo III the Isaurian transferred the island from the jurisdiction of the Pope to that of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Crete_sentence_165

Andalusian Arab rule Crete_section_24

Main article: Emirate of Crete Crete_sentence_166

In the 820s, after 900 years as a Roman, and then Eastern Roman (Byzantine) island, Crete was captured by Andalusian Muladis led by Abu Hafs, who established the Emirate of Crete. Crete_sentence_167

The Byzantines launched a campaign that took most of the island back in 842 and 843 under Theoktistos. Crete_sentence_168

Further Byzantine campaigns in 911 and 949 failed. Crete_sentence_169

In 960/1, Nikephoros Phokas' campaign completely restored Crete to the Byzantine Empire, after a century and a half of Arab control. Crete_sentence_170

Byzantine Empire – second period Crete_section_25

Main article: Byzantine Crete Crete_sentence_171

In 961, Nikephoros Phokas returned the island to Byzantine rule after expelling the Arabs. Crete_sentence_172

Extensive efforts at conversion of the populace were undertaken, led by John Xenos and Nikon "the Metanoeite". Crete_sentence_173

The reconquest of Crete was a major achievement for the Byzantines, as it restored Byzantine control over the Aegean littoral and diminished the threat of Saracen pirates, for which Crete had provided a base of operations. Crete_sentence_174

In 1204, the Fourth Crusade seized and sacked the imperial capital of Constantinople. Crete_sentence_175

Crete was initially granted to leading Crusader Boniface of Montferrat in the partition of spoils that followed. Crete_sentence_176

However, Boniface sold his claim to the Republic of Venice, whose forces made up the majority of the Crusade. Crete_sentence_177

Venice's rival the Republic of Genoa immediately seized the island and it was not until 1212 that Venice secured Crete as a colony. Crete_sentence_178

Venetian rule Crete_section_26

Main article: Kingdom of Candia Crete_sentence_179

From 1212, during Venice's rule, which lasted more than four centuries, a Renaissance swept through the island as is evident from the plethora of artistic works dating to that period. Crete_sentence_180

Known as The Cretan School or Post-Byzantine Art, it is among the last flowerings of the artistic traditions of the fallen empire. Crete_sentence_181

The most notable representatives of this Cretan renaissance were the painter El Greco and the writers Nicholas Kalliakis (1645–1707), Georgios Kalafatis (professor) (c. 1652–1720), Andreas Musalus (c. 1665–1721) and Vitsentzos Kornaros. Crete_sentence_182

Under the rule of the Catholic Venetians, the city of Candia was reputed to be the best fortified city of the Eastern Mediterranean. Crete_sentence_183

The three main forts were located at Gramvousa, Spinalonga, and Fortezza at Rethymnon. Crete_sentence_184

Other fortifications include the Kazarma fortress at Sitia. Crete_sentence_185

In 1492, Jews expelled from Spain settled on the island. Crete_sentence_186

In 1574–77, Crete was under the rule of Giacomo Foscarini as Proveditor General, Sindace and Inquisitor. Crete_sentence_187

According to Starr's 1942 article, the rule of Giacomo Foscarini was a Dark Age for Jews and Greeks. Crete_sentence_188

Under his rule, non-Catholics had to pay high taxes with no allowances. Crete_sentence_189

In 1627, there were 800 Jews in the city of Candia, about seven percent of the city's population. Crete_sentence_190

Marco Foscarini was the Doge of Venice during this time period. Crete_sentence_191

Ottoman rule Crete_section_27

Main articles: Ottoman Crete and Cretan Revolt (1866–1869) Crete_sentence_192

The Ottomans conquered Crete in 1669, after the siege of Candia. Crete_sentence_193

Many Greek Cretans fled to other regions of the Republic of Venice after the Ottoman–Venetian Wars, some even prospering such as the family of Simone Stratigo (c. 1733 – c. 1824) who migrated to Dalmatia from Crete in 1669. Crete_sentence_194

Islamic presence on the island, aside from the interlude of the Arab occupation, was cemented by the Ottoman conquest. Crete_sentence_195

Most Cretan Muslims were local Greek converts who spoke Cretan Greek, but in the island's 19th-century political context they came to be viewed by the Christian population as Turks. Crete_sentence_196

Contemporary estimates vary, but on the eve of the Greek War of Independence (1830), as much as 45% of the population of the island may have been Muslim. Crete_sentence_197

A number of Sufi orders were widespread throughout the island, the Bektashi order being the most prevalent, possessing at least five tekkes. Crete_sentence_198

Many Cretan Turks fled Crete because of the unrest, settling in Turkey, Rhodes, Syria, Libya and elsewhere. Crete_sentence_199

By 1900, 11% of the population was Muslim. Crete_sentence_200

Those remaining were relocated in the 1924 population exchange between Greece and Turkey. Crete_sentence_201

During Easter of 1770, a notable revolt against Ottoman rule, in Crete, was started by Daskalogiannis, a shipowner from Sfakia who was promised support by Orlov's fleet which never arrived. Crete_sentence_202

Daskalogiannis eventually surrendered to the Ottoman authorities. Crete_sentence_203

Today, the airport at Chania is named after him. Crete_sentence_204

Crete was left out of the modern Greek state by the London Protocol of 1830, and soon it was yielded to Egypt by the Ottoman sultan. Crete_sentence_205

Egyptian rule was short-lived and sovereignty was returned to the Ottoman Empire by the Convention of London on 3 July 1840. Crete_sentence_206

Heraklion was surrounded by high walls and bastions and extended westward and southward by the 17th century. Crete_sentence_207

The most opulent area of the city was the northeastern quadrant where all the elite were gathered together. Crete_sentence_208

The city had received another name under the rule of the Ottomans, "the deserted city". Crete_sentence_209

The urban policy that the Ottoman applied to Candia was a two-pronged approach. Crete_sentence_210

The first was the religious endowments. Crete_sentence_211

It made the Ottoman elite contribute to building and rehabilitating the ruined city. Crete_sentence_212

The other method was to boost the population and the urban revenue by selling off urban properties. Crete_sentence_213

According to Molly Greene (2001) there were numerous records of real-estate transactions during the Ottoman rule. Crete_sentence_214

In the deserted city, minorities received equal rights in purchasing property. Crete_sentence_215

Christians and Jews were also able to buy and sell in the real-estate market. Crete_sentence_216

The Cretan Revolt of 1866–1869 or Great Cretan Revolution (Greek: Κρητική Επανάσταση του 1866) was a three-year uprising against Ottoman rule, the third and largest in a series of revolts between the end of the Greek War of Independence in 1830 and the establishment of the independent Cretan State in 1898. Crete_sentence_217

A particular event which caused strong reactions among the liberal circles of western Europe was the Holocaust of Arkadi. Crete_sentence_218

The event occurred in November 1866, as a large Ottoman force besieged the Arkadi Monastery, which served as the headquarters of the rebellion. Crete_sentence_219

In addition to its 259 defenders, over 700 women and children had taken refuge in the monastery. Crete_sentence_220

After a few days of hard fighting, the Ottomans broke into the monastery. Crete_sentence_221

At that point, the abbot of the monastery set fire to the gunpowder stored in the monastery's vaults, causing the death of most of the rebels and the women and children sheltered there. Crete_sentence_222

Cretan State 1898–1908 Crete_section_28

Main articles: Cretan State, Theriso revolt, and Candia massacre Crete_sentence_223

Following the repeated uprisings in 1841, 1858, 1889, 1895 and 1897 by the Cretan people, who wanted to join Greece, the Great Powers decided to restore order and in February 1897 sent in troops. Crete_sentence_224

The island was subsequently garrisoned by troops from Great Britain, France, Italy and Russia; Germany and Austro-Hungary withdrawing from the occupation in early 1898. Crete_sentence_225

During this period Crete was governed through a committee of admirals from the remaining four Powers. Crete_sentence_226

In March 1898 the Powers decreed, with the very reluctant consent of the Sultan, that the island would be granted autonomy under Ottoman suzerainty in the near future. Crete_sentence_227

In September 1898 an outbreak of rioting in Candia, modern Heraklion, left over 500 Cretan Christians, and 14 British servicemen, dead. Crete_sentence_228

As a result, the Admirals ordered the expulsion of all Ottoman troops and administrators from the island, a move that was ultimately completed by early November. Crete_sentence_229

The decision to grant autonomy to the island was enforced and a High Commissioner, Prince George of Greece, appointed, arriving to take up his post in December 1898. Crete_sentence_230

The flag of the Cretan State was chosen by the Powers, with the white star representing the Ottoman suzerainty over the island. Crete_sentence_231

In 1905, disagreements between Prince George and minister Eleftherios Venizelos over the question of the enosis (union with Greece), such as the Prince's autocratic style of government, resulted in the Theriso revolt, one of the leaders being Eleftherios Venizelos. Crete_sentence_232

Prince George resigned as High Commissioner and was replaced by Alexandros Zaimis, a former Greek prime minister, in 1906. Crete_sentence_233

In 1908, taking advantage of domestic turmoil in Turkey as well as the timing of Zaimis's vacation away from the island, the Cretan deputies unilaterally declared union with Greece. Crete_sentence_234

With the break out of the First Balkan War, the Greek government declared that Crete was now Greek territory. Crete_sentence_235

This was not recognised internationally until 1 December 1913. Crete_sentence_236

Second World War Crete_section_29

Main articles: Battle of Crete and Cretan resistance Crete_sentence_237

During World War II, the island was the scene of the famous Battle of Crete in May 1941. Crete_sentence_238

The initial 11-day battle was bloody and left more than 11,000 soldiers and civilians killed or wounded. Crete_sentence_239

As a result of the fierce resistance from both Allied forces and civilian Cretan locals, the invasion force suffered heavy casualties, and Adolf Hitler forbade further large-scale paratroop operations for the rest of the war. Crete_sentence_240

During the initial and subsequent occupation, German firing squads routinely executed male civilians in reprisal for the death of German soldiers; civilians were rounded up randomly in local villages for the mass killings, such as at the Massacre of Kondomari and the Viannos massacres. Crete_sentence_241

Two German generals were later tried and executed for their roles in the killing of 3,000 of the island's inhabitants. Crete_sentence_242

Tourism Crete_section_30

Main article: Tourism in Greece Crete_sentence_243

Crete was one of the most popular holiday destinations in Greece. Crete_sentence_244

15% of all arrivals in Greece come through the city of Heraklion (port and airport), while charter journeys to Heraklion seven years ago made up . Crete_sentence_245

Overall, more than two million tourists visited Crete some years back, when the increase in tourism was reflected in the number of hotel beds, rising by 53% in the period between 1986 and 1991. Crete_sentence_246

Today, the island's tourism infrastructure caters to all tastes, including a very wide range of accommodation; the island's facilities take in large luxury hotels with their complete facilities, swimming pools, sports and recreation, smaller family-owned apartments, camping facilities and others. Crete_sentence_247

Visitors reach the island via two international airports in Heraklion and Chania and a smaller airport in Sitia (international charter and domestic flights starting May 2012) or by boat to the main ports of Heraklion, Chania, Rethimno, Agios Nikolaos and Sitia. Crete_sentence_248

Popular tourist attractions include the archaeological sites of the Minoan civilisation, the Venetian old city and port of Chania, the Venetian castle at Rethymno, the gorge of Samaria, the islands of Chrysi, Elafonisi, Gramvousa, Spinalonga and the Palm Beach of Vai, which is the largest natural palm forest in Europe. Crete_sentence_249

Transportation Crete_section_31

Crete has an extensive bus system with regular services across the north of the island and from north to south. Crete_sentence_250

There are two regional bus stations in Heraklion. Crete_sentence_251

Bus routes and timetables can be found on KTEL website. Crete_sentence_252

Holiday homes and immigration Crete_section_32

Crete's mild climate attracts interest from northern Europeans who want a holiday home or residence on the island. Crete_sentence_253

EU citizens have the right to freely buy property and reside with little formality. Crete_sentence_254

A growing number of real estate companies cater to mainly British immigrants, followed by Dutch, German, Scandinavian and other European nationalities wishing to own a home in Crete. Crete_sentence_255

The British immigrants are concentrated in the western regional units of Chania and Rethymno and to a lesser extent in Heraklion and Lasithi. Crete_sentence_256

Archaeological sites and museums Crete_section_33

Main article: List of museums in Greece § Crete Crete_sentence_257

The area has a large number of archaeological sites, including the Minoan sites of Knossos, Malia (not to be confused with the town of the same name), Petras and Phaistos, the classical site of Gortys, and the diverse archaeology of the island of Koufonisi, which includes Minoan, Roman, and World War II era ruins (nb. Crete_sentence_258

due to conservation concerns, access to the latter has been restricted for the last few years, so it is best to check before heading to a port). Crete_sentence_259

There are a number of museums throughout Crete. Crete_sentence_260

The Heraklion Archaeological Museum displays most of the archaeological finds from the Minoan era and was reopened in 2014. Crete_sentence_261

Harmful effects Crete_section_34

Helen Briassoulis proposed in the Journal of Sustainable Tourism that Crete is a victim of external tourist systems applying pressure to it to develop at an unhealthy rate, and that informal, internal systems within the country are forced to adapt. Crete_sentence_262

According to her, these forces have strengthened in 3 stages: from the period from 1960–1970, 1970–1990, and 1990 to the present. Crete_sentence_263

During this first period, tourism was a largely positive force, pushing modern developments like running water and electricity onto the largely rural countryside. Crete_sentence_264

However, beginning in the second period and especially in the third period leading up to the present day, tourist companies became more pushy with deforestation and pollution of Crete's natural resources. Crete_sentence_265

The country is then pulled into an interesting parity, where these companies only upkeep those natural resources that are directly essential to their industry. Crete_sentence_266


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Fauna and flora Crete_section_35

Main article: Crete Mediterranean forests Crete_sentence_267

Fauna Crete_section_36

Crete is isolated from mainland Europe, Asia, and Africa, and this is reflected in the diversity of the fauna and flora. Crete_sentence_268

As a result, the fauna and flora of Crete have many clues to the evolution of species. Crete_sentence_269

There are no animals that are dangerous to humans on the island of Crete in contrast to other parts of Greece. Crete_sentence_270

Indeed, the ancient Greeks attributed the lack of large mammals such as bears, wolves, jackals, and venomous snakes, to the labour of Hercules (who took a live Cretan bull to the Peloponnese). Crete_sentence_271

Hercules wanted to honor the birthplace of Zeus by removing all "harmful" and "venomous" animals from Crete. Crete_sentence_272

Later, Cretans believed that the island was cleared of dangerous creatures by the Apostle Paul, who lived on the island of Crete for two years, with his exorcisms and blessings. Crete_sentence_273

There is a natural history museum, the Natural History Museum of Crete, operating under the direction of the University of Crete and two aquariums – Aquaworld in Hersonissos and Cretaquarium in Gournes, displaying sea creatures common in Cretan waters. Crete_sentence_274

Prehistoric fauna Crete_section_37

Dwarf elephants, dwarf hippopotamus, dwarf mammoths, dwarf deer, and giant flightless owls were native to Pleistocene Crete. Crete_sentence_275

Mammals Crete_section_38

Main article: Mammals of Greece Crete_sentence_276

Mammals of Crete include the vulnerable kri-kri, Capra aegagrus cretica that can be seen in the national park of the Samaria Gorge and on Thodorou, Dia and Agioi Pantes (islets off the north coast), the Cretan wildcat and the Cretan spiny mouse. Crete_sentence_277

Other terrestrial mammals include subspecies of the Cretan marten, the Cretan weasel, the Cretan badger, the long-eared hedgehog, and the edible dormouse. Crete_sentence_278

The Cretan shrew, a type of white-toothed shrew is considered endemic to the island of Crete because this species of shrew is unknown elsewhere. Crete_sentence_279

It is a relic species of the crocidura shrews of which fossils have been found that can be dated to the Pleistocene era. Crete_sentence_280

In the present day it can only be found in the highlands of Crete. Crete_sentence_281

It is considered to be the only surviving remnant of the endemic species of the Pleistocene Mediterranean islands. Crete_sentence_282

Bat species include: Blasius's horseshoe bat, the lesser horseshoe bat, the greater horseshoe bat, the lesser mouse-eared bat, Geoffroy's bat, the whiskered bat, Kuhl's pipistrelle, the common pipistrelle, Savi's pipistrelle, the serotine bat, the long-eared bat, Schreibers' bat and the European free-tailed bat. Crete_sentence_283


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Birds Crete_section_39

A large variety of birds includes eagles (can be seen in Lasithi), swallows (throughout Crete in the summer and all the year in the south of the island), pelicans (along the coast), and common cranes (including Gavdos and Gavdopoula). Crete_sentence_284

The Cretan mountains and gorges are refuges for the endangered lammergeier vulture. Crete_sentence_285

Bird species include: the golden eagle, Bonelli's eagle, the bearded vulture or lammergeier, the griffon vulture, Eleanora's falcon, peregrine falcon, lanner falcon, European kestrel, tawny owl, little owl, hooded crow, alpine chough, red-billed chough, and the Eurasian hoopoe. Crete_sentence_286

Reptiles and amphibians Crete_section_40

Tortoises can be seen throughout the island. Crete_sentence_287

Snakes can be found hiding under rocks. Crete_sentence_288

Toads and frogs reveal themselves when it rains. Crete_sentence_289

Reptiles include the Aegean wall lizard, Balkan green lizard, common chameleon, ocellated skink, snake-eyed skink, moorish gecko, Turkish gecko, Kotschy's gecko, spur-thighed tortoise, and the Caspian turtle. Crete_sentence_290

There are four species of snake on the island and these are not dangerous to humans. Crete_sentence_291

The four species include the leopard snake (locally known as Ochendra), the Balkan whip snake (locally called Dendrogallia), the dice snake (called Nerofido in Greek), and the only venomous snake is the nocturnal cat snake which has evolved to deliver a weak venom at the back of its mouth to paralyse geckos and small lizards, and is not dangerous to humans. Crete_sentence_292

Sea turtles include the green turtle and the loggerhead turtle which are both threatened species. Crete_sentence_293

The loggerhead turtle nests and hatches on north-coast beaches around Rethymno and Chania, and south-coast beaches along the gulf of Mesara. Crete_sentence_294

Amphibians include the European green toad, American bullfrog (introduced), European tree frog, and the Cretan marsh frog (endemic). Crete_sentence_295

Arthropods Crete_section_41

Crete has an unusual variety of insects. Crete_sentence_296

Cicadas, known locally as Tzitzikia, make a distinctive repetitive tzi tzi that becomes louder and more frequent on hot summer days. Crete_sentence_297

Butterfly species include the swallowtail butterfly. Crete_sentence_298

Moth species include the hummingbird moth. Crete_sentence_299

There are several species of scorpion such as Euscorpius carpathicus whose venom is generally no more potent than a mosquito bite. Crete_sentence_300

Crustaceans and molluscs Crete_section_42

River crabs include the semi-terrestrial Potamon potamios crab. Crete_sentence_301

Edible snails are widespread and can cluster in the hundreds waiting for rainfall to reinvigorate them. Crete_sentence_302

Sealife Crete_section_43

Apart from terrestrial mammals, the seas around Crete are rich in large marine mammals, a fact unknown to most Greeks at present, although reported since ancient times. Crete_sentence_303

Indeed, the Minoan frescoes depicting dolphins in Queen's Megaron at Knossos indicate that Minoans were well aware of and celebrated these creatures. Crete_sentence_304

Apart from the famous endangered Mediterranean monk seal, which lives in almost all the coasts of the country, Greece hosts whales, sperm whales, dolphins and porpoises. Crete_sentence_305

These are either permanent residents of the Mediterranean or just occasional visitors. Crete_sentence_306

The area south of Crete, known as the Greek Abyss, hosts many of them. Crete_sentence_307

Squid and octopus can be found along the coast and sea turtles and hammerhead sharks swim in the sea around the coast. Crete_sentence_308

The Cretaquarium and the Aquaworld Aquarium, are two of only three aquariums in the whole of Greece. Crete_sentence_309

They are located in Gournes and Hersonissos respectively. Crete_sentence_310

Examples of the local sealife can be seen there. Crete_sentence_311

Some of the fish that can be seen in the waters around Crete include: scorpion fish, dusky grouper, east Atlantic peacock wrasse, five-spotted wrasse, weever fish, common stingray, brown ray, mediterranean black goby, pearly razorfish, star-gazer, painted comber, damselfish, and the flying gurnard. Crete_sentence_312


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Flora Crete_section_44

The Minoans contributed to the deforestation of Crete. Crete_sentence_313

Further deforestation occurred in the 1600s "so that no more local supplies of firewood were available". Crete_sentence_314

Common wildflowers include: camomile, daisy, gladiolus, hyacinth, iris, poppy, cyclamen and tulip, among others. Crete_sentence_315

There are more than 200 different species of wild orchid on the island and this includes 14 varieties of Ophrys cretica. Crete_sentence_316

Crete has a rich variety of indigenous herbs including common sage, rosemary, thyme, and oregano. Crete_sentence_317

Rare herbs include the endemic Cretan dittany. Crete_sentence_318

and ironwort, Sideritis syriaca, known as Malotira (Μαλοτήρα). Crete_sentence_319

Varieties of cactus include the edible prickly pear. Crete_sentence_320

Common trees on the island include the chestnut, cypress, oak, olive tree, pine, plane, and tamarisk. Crete_sentence_321

Trees tend to be taller to the west of the island where water is more abundant. Crete_sentence_322


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Environmentally protected areas Crete_section_45

There are a number of environmentally protected areas. Crete_sentence_323

One such area is located at the island of Elafonisi on the coast of southwestern Crete. Crete_sentence_324

Also, the palm forest of Vai in eastern Crete and the Dionysades (both in the municipality of Sitia, Lasithi), have diverse animal and plant life. Crete_sentence_325

Vai has a palm beach and is the largest natural palm forest in Europe. Crete_sentence_326

The island of Chrysi, 15 kilometres (9 miles) south of Ierapetra, has the largest naturally-grown Juniperus macrocarpa forest in Europe. Crete_sentence_327

Samaria Gorge is a World Biosphere Reserve and Richtis Gorge is protected for its landscape diversity. Crete_sentence_328

Mythology Crete_section_46

Main article: Greek mythology Crete_sentence_329

Crete has a strong association with Ancient Greek Gods but is also connected with the Minoan civilization. Crete_sentence_330

According to Greek Mythology, The Diktaean Cave at Mount Dikti was the birthplace of the god Zeus. Crete_sentence_331

The Paximadia islands were the birthplace of the goddess Artemis and the god Apollo. Crete_sentence_332

Their mother, the goddess Leto, was worshipped at Phaistos. Crete_sentence_333

The goddess Athena bathed in Lake Voulismeni. Crete_sentence_334

The ancient Greek god Zeus launched a lightning bolt at a giant lizard that was threatening Crete. Crete_sentence_335

The lizard immediately turned to stone and became the island of Dia. Crete_sentence_336

The island can be seen from Knossos and it has the shape of a giant lizard. Crete_sentence_337

The islets of Lefkai were the result of a musical contest between the Sirens and the Muses. Crete_sentence_338

The Muses were so anguished to have lost that they plucked the feathers from the wings of their rivals; the Sirens turned white and fell into the sea at Aptera ("featherless") where they formed the islands in the bay that were called Lefkai (the islands of Souda and Leon). Crete_sentence_339

Heracles, in one of his labors, took the Cretan bull to the Peloponnese. Crete_sentence_340

Europa and Zeus made love at Gortys and conceived the kings of Crete: Rhadamanthys, Sarpedon, and Minos. Crete_sentence_341

The labyrinth of the Palace of Knossos was the setting for the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur in which the Minotaur was slain by Theseus. Crete_sentence_342

Icarus and Daedalus were captives of King Minos and crafted wings to escape. Crete_sentence_343

After his death King Minos became a judge of the dead in Hades, while Rhadamanthys became the ruler of the Elysian fields. Crete_sentence_344

Culture Crete_section_47

Main article: Culture of Greece Crete_sentence_345

See also: Cretan School, Cretan literature, Music of Crete, and Cretan cuisine Crete_sentence_346

Crete has its own distinctive Mantinades poetry. Crete_sentence_347

The island is known for its Mantinades-based music (typically performed with the Cretan lyra and the laouto) and has many indigenous dances, the most noted of which is the Pentozali. Crete_sentence_348

Since the 1980s and certainly in the 90s onwards there has been a proliferation of Cultural Associations that teach dancing (in Western Crete many focus on rizitiko singing). Crete_sentence_349

These Associations often perform in official events but also become stages for people to meet up and engage in traditionalist practices. Crete_sentence_350

The topic of tradition and the role of Cultural Associations in reviving it is very often debated throughout Crete. Crete_sentence_351

Cretan authors have made important contributions to Greek literature throughout the modern period; major names include Vikentios Kornaros, creator of the 17th-century epic romance Erotokritos (Greek Ερωτόκριτος), and, in the 20th century, Nikos Kazantzakis. Crete_sentence_352

In the Renaissance, Crete was the home of the Cretan School of icon painting, which influenced El Greco and through him subsequent European painting. Crete_sentence_353

Crete is also famous for its traditional cuisine. Crete_sentence_354

The nutritional value of the Cretan cuisine was discovered by the American epidemiologist Ancel Keys in the 1960, being later often mentioned by epidemiologists as one of the best examples of the Mediterranean diet. Crete_sentence_355

Cretans are fiercely proud of their island and customs, and men often don elements of traditional dress in everyday life: knee-high black riding boots (stivania), vráka breeches tucked into the boots at the knee, black shirt and black headdress consisting of a fishnet-weave kerchief worn wrapped around the head or draped on the shoulders (sariki). Crete_sentence_356

Men often grow large mustaches as a mark of masculinity. Crete_sentence_357

Cretan society is known in Greece and internationally for family and clan vendettas which persist on the island to date. Crete_sentence_358

Cretans also have a tradition of keeping firearms at home, a tradition lasting from the era of resistance against the Ottoman Empire. Crete_sentence_359

Nearly every rural household on Crete has at least one unregistered gun. Crete_sentence_360

Guns are subject to strict regulation from the Greek government, and in recent years a great deal of effort to control firearms in Crete has been undertaken by the Greek police, but with limited success. Crete_sentence_361


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Sports Crete_section_48

Crete has many football clubs playing in the local leagues. Crete_sentence_362

During the 2011–12 season, OFI Crete, which plays at Theodoros Vardinogiannis Stadium (Iraklion), and Ergotelis F.C., which plays at the Pankritio Stadium (Iraklion) were both members of the Greek Superleague. Crete_sentence_363

During the 2012–13 season, OFI Crete, which plays at Theodoros Vardinogiannis Stadium (Iraklion), and Platanias F.C., which plays at the Perivolia Municipal Stadium, near Chania, are both members of the Greek Superleague. Crete_sentence_364

Notable people Crete_section_49

Main page: :Category:People from Crete Crete_sentence_365

Notable people from Crete include: Crete_sentence_366


See also Crete_section_50


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: