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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.
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.
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.
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.
HOTELS IN HERAKLON
FIND A VILLA IN HERAKLION
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HERAKLION ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
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.
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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