Heraklion is the largest urban centre in Crete with approximately 175,000 people, the capital of the region and the economic centre of the island. The town enjoys of a dynamic and imaginative combination of natural beauty climate, strategic position, cultural heritage and scientific background what has created an appropiate environment to suport a particular mechanism with which to in add value to the broader entrepreneurial activity in the region and stimulate the local economy. Today Heraklion is the top choice for tourist destinations in the Mediterranean thanks to strategic geopolitical position connecting three continents and many different cultures, furthermore the city is also the commercial and scientific centre of the island.
From January 1, 2011, pursuant to Law 3852/2010, the Municipality of Heraklion comprises the municipalities of a. Heraklion b. Gorgolaini c.Temenous d. Palianis and e. New Alikarnassos (see the map).
The history of the city of Heraklion is very long with a lot of points still dark to us, the most recent of its inhabitants. In spite of this, frequently enough new archaeological evidence comes to light to denote with certainty the special role that the town played in the course of time, by being at the crossroads of the Mediterranean sea-routes.
1850 fully documented photos, 250 text archives (Venetian - Ottoman period, Cretan State period, newspapers from the early 20th century.), 250 pages of A4 original texts, historical video 45 minutes length, sound and narratives unfolding the story of Heraklion developed into 7 sections about the city''s history and cultural heritage such as monuments, historic sites, museums, buildings etc. The entire portal is available in two languages, Greek and English.
Coming to Heraklion for the first time, the visitor nowadays may be somewhat surprised by the changes that are taking place in Crete's capital city; Heraklion is celebrating its rich history and moving onwards to a future full of potential.
Where, at one time, the number of cars in the city centre would have made walking difficult, you will now find large city-centre spaces cleared of traffic. You can enjoy walking in one of the most historically and socially fascinating cities facing the Mediterranean, on streets free from traffic noise and rush. The city has opened up in so many ways, making the city a place of discovery. These changes bring a harmony too; between the traditionally warm, considerate people of Heraklion, and the fine buildings that surround us, the open public spaces and views over the ocean. Many landmarks tell their story about the city and the island that gave birth to gods, to rebellion, and to a place that inspires everyone who feels the spirit of Crete.
The centre of Minoan civilisation and capital of Minoan Crete lay 5km south of Heraklion. Knossos flourished for approximately two thousand years. It had large palace buildings, extensive workshop installations and luxurious rock-cut cave and tholos tombs. As a major centre of trade and the economy, Knossos maintained ties with the majority of cities in the Eastern Mediterranean. Wealth accumulation and the advancement of an urban lifestyle were the hallmarks of this zenith, which began circa 2000 BC and was typified by magnificent monumental buildings and a complex social structure.