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Venetian Heraklion and the Unique Archaeological Museum
Crete is Greece’s largest island and the birthplace of Zeus according to mythology. Our tour enables us to find out more of the important period of Venetian rule and explore the jewels in the crown of the capital Heraklion’s wonderful structures including the ‘Koules’ fortress, Venetian Loggia, Basilica of St Mark, medieval monastery of St Catherine and the Cathedral of Agios Minas.
The Venetian Loggia is an especially eye-catching and beautiful structure that still functions as the Town Hall of Heraklion. It was built in 1620 and was a place for Venetian nobleman to gather. The fortifications of Heraklion surround the old city. They were first constructed in the Middle Ages but they were completely rebuilt by the Republic of Venice and resisted the Ottoman Turkish forces for 22 years in the 1600s. They are among the best preserved city walls in the Mediterranean.
The ancient city of Knossos, near the capital Heraklion, was the place that ‘gave birth’ to the very first civilisation of Europe, the Minoans. So we can probably say it’s Europe oldest city. We can really feel the sense of history and understand some of the myths and legends of Ancient Greece here in Heraklion.
We also learn about some of Crete’s leading figures, including Nobel Prize winning poet Odysseas Elytis, the painter El Greco and the writer Nikos Kazantzakis.
We end at the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion to find out more of the background to the history and culture of Crete.