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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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 Villa Alexia
Villa Alexia, Maleme
Featuring a private pool, Villa Alexia is located in Maleme Village. It offers a fully equipped unit with free Wi-Fi and a balcony overlooking the Cretan Sea, the pool and the garden. more...
 MV apartment
MV apartment, Mochlos
Located in Mókhlos in the Crete region, MV apartment has a garden. It features sea views and free WiFi. more...
 Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa, Crete
Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa, Crete, Elounda
Set on Elounda coast, the 5-star Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa, Crete combines luxurious accommodations with award-winning cuisine and a state-of-the-art spa. more...
 Royal Marmin Bay Boutique & Art Hotel
Royal Marmin Bay Boutique & Art Hotel, Elounda
Located right on the beach in Elounda, Royal Marmin Bay Boutique & Art Hotel features a swimming pool with a spacious sun terrace and sun loungers. more...
 Sunlight Breeze Villa
Sunlight Breeze Villa, Chania Town
Set at a distance of 3.7 from Chania Town Center, this air-conditioned villa features a terrace and a garden with an outdoor pool and a seasonal outdoor pool. Guests benefit from balcony. more...
 Creta Maris Beach Resort
Limenas Hersonissou is a great choice for travelers interested in nightlife, bars and the oceanside
Overlooking the Blue Flag Hersonissos Beach, the all-inclusive Creta Maris Beach Resort combines a Cretan hospitality and green oriented environment with exclusive 5-star services. more...
 Rodi Stone Villa
Rodi Stone Villa, Kalyves
Located in Kalyves, Rodi Stone Villa has accommodations with free WiFi, air conditioning, barbecue facilities and access to a garden with an outdoor pool. This villa also has a private pool. more...
 Plakias Resorts
Plakias Resorts, Plakias
This beachfront resort enjoys a spectacular location around a small and scenic port in Plakias. more...
 Dyo Suites
Dyo Suites, Rethymno Town
Dyo Suites is located in Rethymno Town, just steps from the sandy beach and a 10-minute walk from the scenic old town. more...
 Minos Beach Art Hotel
Minos Beach Art Hotel, Agios Nikolaos
Featuring a stunning location next to the water’s edge, Minos Beach Art Hotel features an art gallery and an excellent health and beauty center, along with complimentary breakfast and parking. more...
 S&K Villas
S&K Villas, Kalamaki
Offering an outdoor pool, the modernly built and elegantly decorated S&K Villas are located in Kalamaki of Crete, within 3.1 mi from Chania Town. more...
 Diktamon Luxury Villa
Diktamon Luxury Villa, Athánatoi
Located in Athánatoi, Diktamon Luxury Villa has accommodations with a private pool and private parking. Guests have a private terrace. more...
 Flamingos Hotel Apartments
Flamingos Hotel Apartments, Kato Daratso
Located in Kato Daratso, Flamingos Hotel Apartments provides accommodations with free WiFi, air conditioning and access to a garden with an outdoor swimming pool. more...
 Koukounari luxury villa
Koukounari luxury villa, Chania Town
Koukounari luxury villa offers accommodations in Chania Town, an 11-minute walk from Venizelos Graves and 1.6 miles from Conference Centre of MAICh. Guests benefit from a terrace and an outdoor pool. more...
 White Grace
White Grace, Pigi
Located in Pigi, White Grace provides accommodations with a private pool and private parking. Featuring sea and mountain views, this villa also provides guests with free WiFi. 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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