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Heraklion, or Heraclion also Iraklion (Greek: Ηράκλειο Greek pronunciation: [iˈraklio]) is the largest city and the administrative capital of the island of Crete, Greece. It is one of the largest cities in Greece.
Heraklion is the capital of Heraklion regional unit. The ruins of Knossos, which were excavated and restored by Arthur Evans, are nearby. The Heraklion International Airport is named after Nikos Kazantzakis.
The Arab raiders from Andalusia who founded the Emirate of Crete moved the island's capital from Gortyna to a new castle they called rabḍ al-ḫandaq 'Castle of the Moat' in the 820s.This was hellenized as Χάνδαξ (Handax) or Χάνδακας and Latinized as Candia, which was taken into other European languages: in Italian as Candia (used under the Venetian rule), in French as Candie, in English as Candy, all of which could refer to all of Crete as well as to the city itself; the Ottoman name was Kandiye.

After the Byzantine reconquest, the city was locally known as Megalo Kastro or Castro (the Big Castle in Greek) and its inhabitants were called Kastrinoi or Castrini (Castle-dwellers in Greek).

The ancient name Ηράκλειον was revived in the 19th century and comes from the nearby Roman port of Heracleum ("Heracles' city"), whose exact location is unknown. English usage formerly preferred the classicizing transliterations "Heraklion" or "Heraclion", but the form "Iraklion" is becoming more common.
Heraklion is close to the ruins of the palace of Knossos, which in Minoan times was the largest centre of population on Crete. Though there is no archaeological evidence of it, Knossos may well have had a port at the site of Heraklion as long ago as 2000 BC
The present city of Heraklion was founded in 824 by the Saracens who had been expelled from Al-Andalus by Emir Al-Hakam I and had taken over the island from the Eastern Roman Empire. They built a moat around the city for protection, and named the city ربض الخندق, rabḍ al-ḫandaq ("Castle of the Moat"). The Saracens allowed the port to be used as a safe haven for pirates who operated against Imperial shipping and raided Imperial territory around the Aegean.
In 961, Imperial forces under the command of Nikephoros Phokas, later to become Emperor, landed in Crete and attacked the city. After a prolonged siege, the city fell. The Saracen inhabitants were slaughtered, the city looted and burned to the ground. Soon rebuilt, the town of Chandax remained under Greek control for the next 243 years

n 1204, the city was bought by the Republic of Venice as part of a complicated political deal which involved among other things, the Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade restoring the deposed Eastern Roman Emperor Isaac II Angelus to his throne. The Venetians improved on the ditch of the city by building enormous fortifications, most of which are still in place, including a giant wall, in places up to 40 m thick, with 7 bastions, and a fortress in the harbour. Chandax was renamed Candia and became the seat of the Duke of Candia, and the Venetian administrative district of Crete became known as "regno di Candia" (kingdom of Candia). The city retained the name of Candia for centuries and the same name was often used to refer to the whole island of Crete as well. To secure their rule, Venetians began in 1212 to settle families from Venice on Crete. The coexistence of two different cultures and the stimulus of Italian Renaissance led to a flourishing of letters and the arts in Candia and Crete in general, that is today known as the Cretan Renaissance.
After the Venetians came the Ottoman Empire. During the Cretan War (1645–1669), the Ottomans besieged the city for 21 years, from 1648 to 1669, perhaps the longest siege in history. In its final phase, which lasted for 22 months, 70,000 Turks, 38,000 Cretans and slaves and 29,088 of the city's Christian defenders perished.The Ottoman army under an Albanian grand vizier, Köprülü Fazıl Ahmed Pasha conquered the city in 1669. Under the Ottomans, the city was known officially as Kandiye (again also applied to the whole island of Crete) but informally in Greek as Megalo Castro (Μεγάλο Κάστρο; "Big Castle"). During the Ottoman period, the harbour silted up, so most shipping shifted to Chania in the west of the island.
In 1898, the autonomous Cretan State was created, under Ottoman suzerainty, with Prince George of Greece as its High Commissioner and under international supervision. During the period of direct occupation of the island by the Great Powers (1898–1908), Candia was part of the British zone. At this time, the city was renamed "Heraklion", after the Roman port of Heracleum ("Heracles' city"), whose exact location is unknown.
In 1913, with the rest of Crete Heraklion was incorporated into the Kingdom of GreeceThe municipality Heraklion was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 5 former municipalities, that became municipal units:
Gorgolainis
Heraklion
Nea Alikarnassos
Paliani
Temenos

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The Venetian Harbour-Heraklion  Basilica of St.Titus    Snake Godess   
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"Morosini Fountain in Heracleion, Crete island, Greece 002" by Moonik - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons. "Arsenał Heraklion 931" by Beemwej - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Comonsm.
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"Kreta - Iraklion - Venezianische Loggia" by Taxiarchos228 - Own work. Licensed under FAL via Wikimedia Commons. "Pagkritio" by The original uploader was Exogiinos at Greek Wikipedia. Original file is/was here - Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
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"Kreta - Iraklion - Agios Minas Kathedrale1" by Taxiarchos228 - Own work. Licensed under FAL via Wikimedia Commons.


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By Tango7174 (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons
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HERAKLION ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM

HERAKLION PORT

The Port of Heraklion is conveniently located in the heart of the East Mediterranean. It is at the crossroads of historic sea routes that once served as conveyors of trade, knowledge and culture linking some the world's earliest sophisticated civilizations. Minoan, Phoenician, Egyptian, Greek, Roman and later, Venetian, Genoese and Ottoman ships plied these waters through the millennia and called at the same destinations that now attract millions of tourists and cruise passengers.

Heraklion remains timelessly strategic to all shipping activities in the East Mediterranean, while its modern port opens up one of this region's most fascinating island destinations. Being right along the way of all classic cruise routes to the Aegean or due east towards the Holy Lands, it is an ideal call option for itinerary designers.

In the last few years Heraklion Port Authority S.A. has made significant progress towards modernizing and improving its cruise related infrastructure, systems and terminal facilities, as well as in training its staff to meet the "cruise challenge" successfully. This has enabled the Heraklion to offer, as a cruise port, excellent and highly competitive services to both ships and their passengers. Also, with the close cooperation between the Port Authority and the nearby International Airport, Heraklion is now a promising new cruise turnaround option with an already satisfactory track record.




















HERAKLION AIRPORT


Heraklion International Airport, “Nikos Kazantzakis” (IATA: HER, ICAO: LGIR) is the primary airport on the island of Crete, Greece, and the country’s second busiest airport after Athens International Airport. It is located about 5 km east of the main city center of Heraklion, near the municipality of Nea Alikarnassos. It is a shared civil/military facility.

The airport is named after Heraklion native Nikos Kazantzakis, a Greek writer and philosopher. Nikos Kazantzakis Airport is Crete’s main and busiest airport, serving Heraklion (Ηράκλειο), Aghios Nikolaos (Άγιος Νικόλαος), Malia (Mάλλια), Hersonissos (Χερσόνησος), Stalida (Σταλίδα), Elounda (Ελούντα) and other resorts.

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