|Heraklion port & "Koule"
Heraklion is the 5th in size city of Greece. Near
the city's area there are settlements from the Neolithic Period.
Even though there are just a few findings to prove it, it is believed
that the city was the port of the ancient city of Knossos. The Saracens
occupied the city on 824 AD and renamed it to "El Khandak" (Fort
of the dike), when they dug the big dike around the city.
The city was re-occupied by the Byzantine Empire
on 961 AD after numerous failed efforts. Two hundred years later
the Empire was dismantled by the Crusaders that took over, and Cretan
government was given to the Venetians for 1.000 silver coins.
|The Venetian Walls
During the Venetian occupation arts flourished
and "Candia", as the city was named by the Venetians, became the
center of literature and arts. Many intellectuals and artists found
refuge in Candia after the fall of Constantinople in 1453.
The Venetians started the construction of the city's
fortification on 1462 and they needed more than a century to complete
it. The walls had a total length of over 4 kilometers. They had
a triangular shape and 7 bastions. The Venetians also built the
port and many other buildings of magnificent architecture.
|The Venetian Loggia
The strategic importance of the fortification was
proved during the city's investment. The city's investment by the
Turks lasted 21 years and was one of the longest in history. The
final surrender was on 1669 after 100.000 Turkish and 30.000 Venetian
During the Turkish occupation the Cretans repined
against the compulsory conversion to the Islamic faith. From 1820
onwards, a continuous guerilla / partisan warfare was done against
Heraklion population was increased after 1913,
when Crete was unified with motherland Greece. Due to her strategic
location th city became a target for the German invasion forces
on 1941. The German bombardment during the Battle of Crete caused
great destruction to the city and after the war she was rebuilt
to a great extent.
Initially Crete's capital was the city of Chania.
The administrative center of Crete was transferred to Heraklion