Discover Crete's Hidden Treasures

Discover Crete's Hidden Treasures

Many people take a​ holiday on​ the Greek island​ of​ Crete and​ enjoy the fantastic beaches, charming villages and​ endless sunshine. But Crete offers the visitor much more than this.

As if​ welcoming people, charming mountain​ villages, rocky bays, sandy beaches and​ one of​ Europe’s best climates were not enough reasons to​ visit Crete, it​ is​ also a​ historian's and​ an​ archaeologist's paradise. Its fascinating archaeological ruins and​ world-class museums are surely a​ bonus. and​ in​ the far northwest, east and​ south of​ the island, away from the tourist trail, you​ can expect to​ see some really excellent smaller Minoan sites that are hardly visited.

But before heading for​ the archaeological ruins, check out the stunning collection​ of​ the Iraklion​ Archaeological Museum in​ Heraklion, the capital of​ the island. Home to​ the world’s finest collection​ of​ Minoan art and​ culture in​ the world, the twenty rooms and​ galleries provide the perfect introduction​ to​ 5,000 years of​ island​ history from the Neolithic to​ the Graeco-Roman era.

The famous Minoan Palace of​ Knossos, just south of​ Iraklion, was one of​ Europe’s finest buildings during Bronze Age (2800-1100 BC) with around 1,400 rooms. Staircases with shallow alabaster steps lead to​ upper or​ lower floors and​ lovely frescoes, with scenes from everyday life, decorate the Palace walls. The King's and​ the Queen's apartments feature blue dolphins, while the throne room contains the oldest throne in​ Europe, the alabaster throne of​ King Minos.

if​ you​ are feeling more adventurous head for​ remote Central Crete’s prehistoric site of​ Gortys, once the largest city in​ Crete. Besides being the first city to​ accept Christianity, and​ with a​ history as​ far back as​ the Minoan period, Gortys was occupied by the Romans in​ 68 BC and​ destroyed by the Arabs 900 years later. this​ layer on​ layer of​ civilization​ brings history to​ life as​ you​ discover an​ ancient past that helps explain​ the present.

The great thing about Crete, the largest of​ the Greek islands, is​ that it’s big enough to​ get away to​ places that are not teeming with visitors all the time. as​ well as​ resorts and​ nightlife you​ can also enjoy simple pleasures such as​ sipping a​ coffee at​ a​ roadside café in​ a​ mountain​ village. But, whatever you​ do, be sure to​ soak up the island’s history through the archaeological remains of​ the past civilizations. and​ remember, entrance to​ all archaeological sites, museums, archaeological collections and​ monuments is​ free on​ Sundays and​ public holidays between 1 November and​ 31 March.

Discover Crete's Hidden Treasures

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