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Visit Crete with your PrivateGuide
Crete an island Megalonisos (the big island in colloquial’s language) a continent that emerged from the sea fully armed with its proud mountains connecting three larger continents the one of Europe, the one of Asia and finally the African continent.
Crete seems to be riding on a bulls back in the middle of the Mediterranean,only after one arrives here it is realized how large,how untamed untouched and diverse this island is.
Crete, is a charismatic harbour in the glittering Mediterranean with its natural beauty, its shallow waters and sandy coves, its accessible beaches, its theme parks, its culture and history, offers endless possibilities and is a perfect place for an unforgettable holiday.
Top Choices in Crete
HERAKLION or IRAKLION
1. Koules Fortress
The “Castello a Mare” is a fortress located at the entrance of the old port of Heraklion, Crete, Greece. It was built by the Venetians in the early 16th century, and is still in good condition today.
The site of Castello a Mare was possibly first fortified by the Arabs in the 9th or 10th centuries. By the Byzantine period, a tower known as Castellum Comunis stood on the site. In 1303, the tower was destroyed in an earthquake but was repaired.
In 1462, the Venetian Senate approved a programme to improve the fortifications of Candia. Eventually, the Byzantine tower was demolished in 1523, and the Castello a Mare began to be built instead. Old ships were filled with stone, and were sunk to form a breakwater and increase the area of the platform on which the fortress was built. The fortress was completed in 1540.
In 1630, the fort was armed with 18 cannons on the ground floor, and 25 cannons on the pathway leading to the roof.
During the 21-year long Siege of Candia, Ottoman batteries easily neutralized the fort’s firepower. The Ottomans eventually took the fort in 1669, after the Venetians surrendered the entire city. They did not make any major alterations to the fort, except for the additions of some battlements and embrasures. They built a small fort known as Little Koules on the landward side, but this was demolished in 1936 while the city was being modernized.
The fortress has been restored, and it is now open to the public. Art exhibitions and cultural activities are occasionally held at the fort.
The fortress is made up of two parts: a high rectangular section, and a slightly lower semi-elliptical section. Its walls are up to 8.7m thick at some places, and it has three entrances. The fort has two stories, with a total of 26 rooms, which were originally used as barracks, a prison, storage rooms, a water reservoir, a church, a mill and a bakery.
A lighthouse tower is located on the northern part of the fort.
1. Museum of Ancient Eleutherna-Orthi Petra/ Homer in CRETE
Among the most important and impressive finds at Orthi Petra is the funerary pyre, which dates to the late eighth century (730-710) BC. It belonged to a warrior, a prominent member of the local community, who was cremated at the age of approximately 30.
In the northwest of the pyre lay the headless body of a stout 30 to 40 year old man, contorted in an unlikely position and deprived of grave gifts, probably a captured enemy, who was executed before the warrior’s pyre as an act of retribution. This burial is the first instance where archaeological evidence corroborates the Homeric description of Patroclus’s pyre and the killing of twelve Trojan captives in his honour.
Another important feature is Building M, the burial place of four women (aged 70-72, 28, 16, and 13) of a prominent Eleuthernian family, the oldest of which held an important place in local society, as suggested by grave gifts characteristic of her aristocratic lineage and priestly role.
CHANIA or HANIA
1. Chania old Port
The stunning perfecture of Chania is offering you so much more than to just the chance to relax under the Greek sun. With a very rich and extraordinary history and cultural heritage, you may find in Chania a great variety of monuments of exceptional cultural interest worth visiting during your stay. Monuments from the Byzantine period, the Venetian period, the Ottoman period as well as the modern History are worth seeing. Museums like the Nautical Museum of Crete, the Archaeological Museum of Chania, the house of El. Venizelos, the War Museum of Chania will help you explore the rich history of this blessed island.
Popular for its vibrant nightlife and cosmopolitan lifestyle, Chania is considered a top holiday destination for tourists from all over the world. Types of accommodation range from luxurious 5-star hotels and exceptional villas to plain rooms and self catering apartments or organised campsites for those interested in spending more relaxed holidays in Crete.
1. Moni Toplou Monastery
Moni Toplou is a Monastery with a long history which played a significant role in the struggles of the Cretan people for freedom.
In 1654, during the Turkish Occupation, the first bishop of Crete, Neofitos Patellaros, handed over some Cretan monasteries to the Patriach. In 1704 the Monastery of Toplou thus managed to avoid the heavy taxes and land seizures enforced on the Cretan people by the janissaries of the Turkish Occupation.. In 1798, the Patriach of Constantinople, Gregory V, declared the monastery and its surrounding lands to remain “uncultivated and undisturbed” and forbade its sale without the express permission of the Patriach.
The monastery is dedicated to Our Lady and to St John. The collection of icons was very interesting, and the engravings were more interesting from a historical point of view. A helpful caretaker explained the etching process during which gunpowder is used to etch large areas of the plate. Unfortunately, photographing is prohibited inside the monastery so I cannot include pictures here of its impressive icons.
There are also rooms with historical exhibits which reflect the monastery’s role in the historical events which formulated modern Greece. In fact much of the destructions on its buildings and slaughter of the monks were caused by the direct involvement of the monastery with the organized resistance against the Turks, and more recently against the Germans in World War II.The monastery is now run by abbot Filotheos Spanoudakis who has presided over the restoration of the monastery and founded a museum of icons and copper engravings. The displays include icons of great artistic worth, bibles, gold-plated silver crosses, patriachal documents, lead seals, vestments etc. The dining area has recently been adorned by the icon painter Manolis Betinakis using fresco.
NOTE: Any tour is executed with the assistance of your private professional guide. Please contact us for more.
PROMO: Option for transfers from/to your location, with our company’s vehicles is also available.