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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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 Krini Beach Hotel
Right on the beachfront, the Krini Beach Hotel features great location on the north coast of Crete and a beautiful outdoor pool. Rethymnon is reached within 10 minutes. more...
 Delina Mountain Resort
Set in an area of 28 acres, this resort combines the fine facilities of a luxurious hotel with the authenticity of Cretan tradition and the wild beauty of the island. more...
 Almyrida Bay Hotel
Set in Almirida, 1.6 mi from Vrasco Beach, Almyrida Bay Hotel offers accommodations with a restaurant, free private parking, a seasonal outdoor swimming pool and a bar. more...
 Axos
This recently refurbished, 3-star hotel is conveniently located in Platanias, Crete΄s most well-known seaside village, 328 feet from a sandy beach and 3.1 mi from the historic city of Rethymno. more...
 Loutra Resort
Providing direct access to mountains, countryside and sea, Loutra Resort offers sun terrace and outdoor pools for adults and children in Loutra, in Rethymno. more...
 Carme Villas
Carme Villas are located close to the traditional and historic village Adele, only 5.6 mi east of Rethymnon, among the Cretan olive groves and fruit-bearing trees. The seafront is at 2625 feet. more...
 Istron Bay Hotel
The 5-star Istron Bay Hotel offers sea-view accommodations and a swimming pool overlooking the beautiful bay of Istron. more...
 Nostos Beach Boutique Hotel
The hotel Nostos Beach is located just steps from the beautiful Bali Beach. It offers a swimming pool with bar, and rooms with large balconies overlooking the sea. more...
 Aphea Village
Located in Kolymvari village, a 10-minute walk from the beach, Aphea offers a freshwater swimming pool. more...
 Ourania Apartments
Surrounded by a peaceful Mediterranean garden, this modern apartment-complex features a pool with furnished sun-bathing terrace and a snack bar with pool tables and satellite TV. more...
 Stella Beach Hotel
Right on a rocky beach of Panormos, Stella Beach Hotel features an outdoor pool with separate children’s section. Surrounded by a garden, it has air-conditioned rooms with Cretan Sea views. more...
 Windy Place
Windy Place is located in Fourfouras Village, at an altitude of 1509 feet. Free WiFi is available in all areas. The closest beach, Agia Galini, is a 30-minute drive away. All rooms have a TV. more...
 Corali Beach
Hotel Corali Beach is located only 131 feet from the sandy beach of Scaleta, 6.8 mi east of Rethymnon. It features a traditional tavern serving local delicacies by the seafront. more...
 Hotel Gortyna
Just 328 feet from the sandy beach of Skaleta, Hotel Gortyna features a large swimming pool surrounded by lush greenery and a poolside bar. more...
 Mari Kristin Beach Hotel
Located in Hersonissos, Mari Kristin Beach Hotel offers rooms with balcony just 33 feet from the beach. It has a swimming pool and a restaurant with a lovely sea-view terrace. more...
 Alexander Hotel Gerakari
Alexander Hotel is located in Gerakari, 22 mi south of Rethymno. Set on the foot of Mount Kedros, it features an outdoor pool, tennis court and 50-person conference hall. Free bikes are provided. more...
 The Authentic Village
Located in Sfakiá, 1.5 mi from Glyka Nera Beach, The Authentic Village provides accommodations with a garden, free private parking and a terrace. more...
 Gorgona Hotel
Located in Balíon, Gorgona Hotel offers beachfront accommodations 0.7 mi from Karavostasi Beach and provides various facilities, such as a restaurant, a seasonal outdoor swimming pool and a garden. more...
 Arolithos Traditional Village Hotel
The Arolithos Traditional Village Hotel occupies a cluster of buildings on the mountains outside Heraklion. more...
 Villa Kamares
Located in Kondomari, Villa Kamares features accommodations with a private pool, a patio and pool views. more...
 Malaxiana Houses
Located in the village of Malaxa, Malaxiana Houses offer accommodations with a terrace featuring views of the White Mountains. Free WiFi is available throughout. more...
 Stefanos Village
Located in Myrthios and 0.6 mi away from Plakias Beach, Stefanos Village offers traditional accommodations with balconies overlooking Plakias bay. It features an outdoor pool and free sun loungers. more...
 Mrs. Chryssana Beach Hotel
Featuring an outdoor pool with sunbeds and umbrellas, Mrs. Chryssana Beach Hotel enjoys a beachfront location in Kolymbari village. more...
 Aptera Hotel
Offering a snack bar and a garden with sun terrace, the family-run Aptera Hotel is located in Megala Khorafia. It features air-conditioned accommodations with a balcony and free WiFi access. more...
 Lake View Suites
Located 1.8 mi from Peristeras Beach, Lake View Suites offers an outdoor swimming pool, a garden and air-conditioned accommodations with a patio and free WiFi. more...




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