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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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 Manos house
Manos house, Agia Pelagia
Offering free WiFi and sea views, Manos house is a property located in Agia Pelagia. This vacation home has barbecue facilities as well as a garden. more...
 Effi Apartments
Effi Apartments, Plataniás
Set right on the beach of Platanias, Effi Apartments offers self-catering units with garden or Cretan Sea views and free Wi-Fi access. more...
 Astraia Residence
Astraia Residence, Chania Town
Offering free WiFi and sea views, Astraia Residence provides accommodations located in Chania Town, just 100 yards from Chania Old Venetian Harbor. The vacation home is 2.1 miles from Venizelos more...
 Villa Xara
Villa Xara, Agia Marina Nea Kydonias
Situated in Agia Marina Nea Kydonias, Villa Xara offers self-catering accommodation with a terrace and free WiFi. Guests may go for a swim in the outdoor pool. more...
 Alianthos Villa
Alianthos Villa, Tersanas
Set in Tersanas, Alianthos Villa features a garden with an outdoor pool and magnificent sea views. A tennis court is available on site. Free WiFi is provided. more...
 Philoxenia Villas
Philoxenia Villas, Panormos Rethymno
Located in Panormos Rethymno, Philoxenia Villas provides accommodations with air conditioning and access to a garden. Free WiFi is provided. more...
 Kores Boutique Houses
Kores Boutique Houses, Chania Town
Renovated with care, Kores Boutique Houses are located in a quiet Chania neighbourhood right next to the Venetian walls. more...
 The Hill House Villa
The Hill House Villa, Kato Daratso
Set at just 550 metres from Chrissi Akti beach, this holiday home features a barbecue. The property boasts views of the sea and is 2.7 km from Firkas Fortress. more...
 Villa Marilou
Villa Marilou, Almirida
Featuring barbecue facilities, Villa Marilou provides accommodations in Almirída with free WiFi and mountain views. Guests benefit from a terrace and an outdoor pool. more...
 Akrogiali Beach Hotel Apartments
Akrogiali Beach Hotel Apartments, Malia
Within steps from a sandy Blue Flag beach, this seafront complex boasts an outdoor swimming pool and snack bar. The stylish accommodation provides a side or full sea view from their balcony. more...
 Forteza view
Forteza view, Rethymno Town
Set in Rethymno Town in the Crete region, Forteza view is a property boasting free WiFi. Housed in a building dating from 2010, this apartment is 1.1 km from the Archaeological Museum of Rethymno. more...
 Parthenis Beach, Suites by the Sea
Parthenis Beach, Suites by the Sea, Malia
Parthenis Beach is situated on the beach front in Malia. All suites have a balcony, with panoramic views of the Aegean Sea. There is free Wi-Fi and free parking. more...
 Agapi Studios
Agapi Studios, Kato Daratso
Located in Kato Daratso, Agapi Studios offers accommodations with a balcony or a patio, free WiFi and TV, as well as a garden. There's also a kitchen in some of the units equipped with a fridge. more...
 Marakas Beach Hotel
Marakas Beach Hotel, Stalós
Situated on Kato Stalos Beach, Marakas Beach Apartments boasts an outdoor swimming pool with sun terrace and free Wi-Fi in public areas. more...
 Villa Pelagos
Villa Pelagos, Koutsounari
Offering free WiFi and sea views, Villa Pelagos is a property located in Koutsounári. This villa provides a private beach area. The villa includes a living room and a bathroom with a hot tub. 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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