1/50.- Map of Crete with destination points of our trip
Welcome to Crete, the island of myth - cradle of European civilizations - birthplace of El Greco, Nikos Kazantzakis, sirtaki.
Crete is the largest of the Greek islands, the first Mediterranean island to reach a high level of civilization and culture in the Bronze Age (around 2000 BC), and probably the most enigmatic.
In its millenary existence the island passed from Cretan hands into Roman, Saracen, Byzantine, Venetian, Ottoman hands through successive foreign ruling and finally became once again Cretan in the 20th century.
Greek, British, Italian and French archeologists have investigated the prehellenic culture of Crete since the second half of the 19th century, yet the hieroglyphic and liniar A script of what has been called Minoan civilization still await deciphering.
What we have today are the excavated Minoan palaces of Knossos,
Phaestos, Malia, Zakros, the invaluable archaeological finds
hosted in the Archaeological Museum of Iraklio, and an array
of more or less speculative research studies. And that is probably
the main fascination Crete is famous for.
But wait , there is a lot more.
I divided our trip to the island into three legs. First leg, Iraklio with its unique Archaeological Museum, from where we plan our excursions: the archaelogical site of Knossos, and the Gortys, Phaistos archaeological sites.
Second leg will be Rethymno, the best preserved Venetian town of the island. From here we take a 1 1/2 hour drive to Anogia, a typical Cretan village at the foot of the Psiloritis mountains, and also stop for a visit at the nearby Sfendoni Zoniana cave.
Our next excursion from Rethymno will be to Preveli, the monastery and beach of the southern coast of Crete at the Lybian Sea.
Back in Rethymno we move to the last leg of our trip, the charming town of Chania from where you can choose a handful of excursions(we did Gonias monastery), bay cruises or just enjoy this colorful old town.
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