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Crete Island

According to a Greek saying, a Cretan's first loyalty is to his island, his second to his country. The insular Cretan mindset-shaped by centuries of bitter resis­tance to relentless invasion-causes the island's people to view even their fel­low Greeks as foreigners. Cretans are nonetheless friendly to the outsiders that continue to vacation on their beloved home, and visitors will enjoy a healthy dose of that old Greek hospitality. Like the long-moustached men in black who sit by the harbour polishing their high boots, the island welcomes you but tends to remain aloof.

Records of Cretan life reach back to 6000 BC, when Neolithic inhabitants dwelled in open settlements and placed terra-cotta statuettes on mountaintops to honour their deities. When settlers arrived from Asia Minor around 3000 BC, Cret­ans forged a civilization that would distinguish Greece , the Mediterranean , and all of Europe . Through the next two millennia, Crete 's Minoans developed unprece­dented technological and artistic abilities, constructing enormous palaces which still astound archaeologists and casual observers alike. Modem excavations have turned up shards of decorated pottery, colourful frescoes, intricate jewelry, cere­monial horns, stone libation vessels, and small sculptures.

Catastrophes--earthquakes, a tidal wave from an enormous volcanic eruption on Santorini, and Mycenaean invasions-plagued Minoan society; three times, the Minoans rebuilt from the ground up. Distinct artistic styles accompanied each rebuilding period. The Early Period's iconography makes it famous: women on thrones appear repeatedly, leading to speculation that early Minoan society may have been matriarchal. The Middle Period brought a political and artistic high point , as the Palace at Knossos dominated a prosperous Aegean marine empire. Later Greeks dated their own origins to the Middle Period, when Zeus was born on Mt. Ida , the mythical Minotaur munched men in the Labyrinth of Knossos, and the Athenian king Theseus wrested power from Crete 's Minoans and handed it to the Achaeans of mainland Greece .

In the 8th century BC, the Dorians occupied the island, carpetbagging with their own ideas about jewelry-making, sculpture, pottery, and language. Conquering Romans later set up camp, only to find the island an unstable aristocratic hangout rife with intercity fighting. Next, Crete fell under rickety Byzantine rule, resulting in the construction of countless Byzantine churches, until the Arabs conquered Crete in AD 827. The Byzantines eventually regained the island but lost it again to Frankish crusaders in 1204. After being sold to Venice , Crete became a commer­cial hub, with fortified ports ringing the island, and developed an early middle class, dominated by Venetian nobles and local merchants.

Cretans look back on this period far more fondly than on the Ottoman occupa­tion that followed. From the late 17th century until Prince George 's liberation of the island in 1898, Crete was Ottoman turf. After the Balkan Wars of 1913, Crete joined the Greek state. During World War II, the island combatted German occupa­tion with strong guerrilla resistance; the period is regarded with pride. Since then, Crete has been spared conquerors and attacks as a part of the Greek nation.

Today, Crete is divided into four main prefectures: Hania, Rethymno, Iraklion , and Lasithi. Transportation networks are based on the prefectures. It's easy to get around within a prefecture, but bus transportation between prefectures can be more complicated, so make your plans with the divisions in mind.


 

Online Travel guide with the best accommodation in Crete. Find the cheapest hotels is Crete & get exclusive online deals. Great rooms at bargain prices. Book online now! Compare Hotel Prices and read Reviews from others.

Great Hotel rates and information See photos, reviews & what's nearby Crete . Detailed tourist and travel information about hotels of Crete providing also regional information.

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 Plakias Resorts
Plakias Resorts, Plakias
This beachfront resort enjoys a spectacular location around a small and scenic port in Plakias. more...
 Villa Anatoli
Villa Anatoli, Stalós
Featuring free WiFi and sea views, Villa Anatoli is a villa, located in Stalós. You can relax by the outdoor pool in the garden and use the barbecue. Free private parking is available on site. more...
 Vilana Exclusive Villas
Vilana Exclusive Villas, Skouloúfia
Showcasing an outdoor pool and views of the sea, Vilana Exclusive Villas is located in Skouloúfia in the region of Crete, just 28 miles from Heraklio Town. The property features a hot tub. more...
 Erondas Villas
Erondas Villas, Achlades
Featuring free WiFi and an outdoor pool, Erondas Villas is located in Akhladhés, just 24 miles from Heraklio Town. The property is air conditioned and is fitted with a spa tub. more...
 Anna Boutique Villas
Anna Boutique Villas, Mixórrouma
Featuring air conditioning, Anna Boutique Villas offers accommodations in Mixórrouma. Balíon is 21 miles from the property. Free private parking is available on site. more...
 Ambelos
Ambelos, Agia Pelagia
Located in Agia Pelagia, 9 miles from Heraklio Town, Ambelos features an outdoor pool and views of the garden. Hersonissos is 22 miles from the property. Free private parking is available on site. more...
 Cretan Malia Park
Cretan Malia Park, Malia
Located in Malia in the region of Crete, 20 miles from Heraklio Town, Cretan Malia Park features an outdoor pool, playground and sun terrace. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant. more...
 Sunflower villa
Sunflower villa, Plakias
Located 26 miles from Balíon and 13 miles from Rethymno Town, Sunflower villa offers accommodations in Plakias. The villa has air conditioning and free WiFi. Free private parking is available on site . more...
 Akrogiali Beach Hotel Apartments
Akrogiali Beach Hotel Apartments, Malia
Showcasing a playground and views of the sea, Akrogiali Beach Hotel Apartments is located in Malia in the region of Crete. Heraklio Town is 18 miles from the property. more...
 Golden Coast Seaside Apartments
Golden Coast Seaside Apartments, Rethymno Town
Featuring air conditioning, Golden Coast Seaside Apartments offers accommodations in Rethymno Town. Chania Town is 29 miles away. The accommodation is equipped with a TV. more...
 Villa Olia
Villa Olia, Prinés
Featuring free WiFi throughout the property, Villa Olia is a villa, located in Prinés. The property is 26 miles from Chania Town and free private parking is provided. more...
 Sunlight Breeze Villa
Sunlight Breeze Villa, Chania Town
Located in Chania Town, this air-conditioned villa features a terrace. The property is 1.7 miles from Chania Old Venetian Harbor and free private parking is provided. more...
 Georgia Vicky Studios & Apartments
Georgia Vicky Studios & Apartments, Stavros
On a 5-acre plot, Georgia-Vicky Studios and Apartments is in Stavros, Crete. It features views of the sea, the pool or the gardens from each unit's balcony and a seawater swimming pool. more...
 Stefan's City Loft
Stefan's City Loft, Chania Town
Located in Chania Town, Stefan's City Loft is 0.4 miles from Chania Old Venetian Harbor. more...
 Hotel Off
Hotel Off, Chania Town
Located in Chania Town, 346 yards from Chania Old Venetian Harbor, Hotel Off features a sun terrace and views of the garden. more...




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Greece Top Destinations
Athens-Attica
Central Greece
Crete
Cyclades
Dodecanese
Ionian Islands
Northeast Aegean
Northern Greece
Peloponnese
Saronic Gulf Islands
Sporades and Evia

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