History of Crete, Crete Island
Tourists don’t come here by the busload, they come by the shipload. Cruise boats pull up in Irakleio Harbour and then come here in their thousands. I spoke to one of the ticket office men and he estimated that they’d get around 5,000 through today. Little wonder the other side of the road is lined with souvenir and ice cream shops. It’s the second most visited Greek archaeological site after the Acropolis.
Fondest memory: The legend of the half man half bull Minotaur and possibly the word labyrinth derive from here. According to legend when Theseus came from Athens disguised as one of seven sacrificial boys (there were seven girls as well) that would stop King Minos from attacking Athens for nine years, he had an idea to change this slaughter.
King Minos and his daughter Ariadne greeted them, the latter taking a fancy to Theseus, suggesting he leave the ball of string and sword she gave him inside the labyrinth so he could find his way out. Thus he was locked inside the labyrinth, slew the Minotaur, found his way back to the entrance, Ariadne let him out and they sailed off for Athens, stopping at Naxos en route where Ariadne fell asleep and Theseus left her.
Sadly, Theseus’s mainsail was torn so he put up a black one which usually meant the commander had died. His father saw it as the ship sailed in, thought his son dead and committed suicide. And you thought it had a happy ending!
Favorite thing: Crete was the centre of Europe's most ancient civilisation, the Minoan. Though early Cretan history is surrounded by legends (such as those of King Minos; Theseus and the Minotaur; and Daedalus and Icarus) that have been passed to us via Greek historians/poets (such as Homer), it is known that the first human settlement in Crete, dating to the aceramic Neolithic, introduced cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and dogs, as well as domesticated cereals and legumes.
Favorite thing: Born in Adele village in the prefecture of Rethymno, Kostis Giamboudakis was the "hero" who ignited a fire in the gunpowder storage room of the Arkadi Monastery in November 1866 when the revolution against the Turks.
Fondest memory: How's this for history in perspective? A precast concrete house built on a medieval wall constructed from collapsed Roman and Ionic pillars and resting on a Minoan foundation! Couldn't resist taking this snap when walking round Chania in 1985!
Favorite thing: Eleftherios Venizelos was a politician, prime mimister of Greece, during the world war 1 and later.He was borned in Crete and they give his name to new international airport in Athens.
Favorite thing: In the old port, near the light house there is a naval museum, that is very interesting for anybody to visit!