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2/50.- Heraklion, Venetian harbor with Rocca al Mare

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We begin our exploration of Crete in Heraklion or Iraklio, the capital of the island since 1971. Built as a seaport by the Arabs the city was later reinforced as a fort by the Venetians who called it Candia. The fame of the city as a centre of arts and culture under the Venetian rulers gave its name to the island that in the medieval times was known as Candia. The Venetian Walls of Iraklio with a length of 4 kilometers and seven ramparts still standing today are the most important Venetian fortifications in Greece. The Walls end in the Rocca al Mare, pictured here, the Venetian fortress built for the protection of the breakwater. The Ottoman Turks called this fortress Koules and used it as a prison, adding the upper parts and a minaret.

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