Sightseeing in Heraklio

Heraklio is the biggest of all the other cities of Crete and showcases many ancient monuments. Arabians built it in 824BC and it was called Khandak. It is surrounded by old Venetian walls which have a total length of 5km. Their construction was started in 1462 and lasted for more than 100 years. Walk along these ancient walls and visit it's fortress, Koules, the biggest and the most important fort of Europe.

If you continue onwards from the port to the city centre, the first significant landmark you can see is 'Lotzia'. Nowadays this houses the City Council and part of the Municipality of Heraklion services departments. 'Lotzia' used to be the society for the Duke and Officers of Crete, and is decorated with uniquely sculptured coats of arms, trophies, and metopes. For centuries the noblemen of Crete gathered here to rest, to be entertained, or to practice their formal rituals. Its passageways (stoas) have their roots in the 14th century, but 'Lotzia' took its final architecture from the early part of the 17th century. It is located in the Piazza Dei Signori (Square of the Administrative Authorities). It is considered to be the finest Venetian monument in the city, and was awarded the EUROPA NOSTRA first prize in 1987, for best renovated and preserved European monument of the year.

The most important archeological site of Heraklio is Knossos. Knossos is the site of the most important and better known palace of Minoan civilization. According to tradition, it was the seat of the legendary king Minos. The site was continuously inhabited from the Neolithic period (7000-3000 B.C.) until Roman times. The Archeological Museum of Heraklio houses and exhibits all remnants that were uncovered in this site and others on the island. Embark upon a cultural and historical journey in the capital city of Crete, where signs of past influences have left their marks in the city.Wander through the city's vast shopping centre and the open-air market before taking a rest next to the Morosini Fountain at one of the city's Venezelou square cafes where you must try our local specialty, bougatsa. Admire St. Titus church, patron of the city and Venetian Loggia, San Marcus church. Visit St.Marc's basilica which houses the Art Gallery or drop by the Historical Museum of Crete to experience its rich collections of Byzantine, Medieval, Historical and Folklore collections. Here visitors can also see the painting of El Greco, native world-famous Greek painter Domenicos Theotokopoulos and writng works of Greek Cretan novelist, Nikos Kazantzakis.

A great family excursion continues to Cretaquarium where you'll glimpse local Mediterranean marine life in Europe's newest and best marine aquarium which is part of Thallassokosmos (Hellenic Centre for Marine Research), the largest marine research, technology and entertainment complex in the Mediterranean.

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