Heraklion is the main city on the island of Crete and usually the starting point for visitors wishing to explore the island.
The city, built on a fairly steep hillside, has a huge harbour to accommodate ferries and cruise liners, and an international airport. Heraklion is busy, bustling and full of hotels, fast food outlets, shops and traffic. The main square of Plateia Venizelou is a pedestrian mall sporting cafes and restaurants, with some fascinating shops in the surrounding streets.
Like many Greek cities Heraklion’s architecture was influenced by Venetian occupation, and a Venetian fortress dominates the harbour. The city’s pride and joy, though, is its archaeological museum, which contains the world’s most comprehensive collection of artefacts from the Minoan civilisation, which flourished on Crete around 1,600 BC.
Heraklion is close to the major archaeological site associated with the Minoans at Knossos.
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