Iraklio – capital of Crete

Iraklio, also known as Heraklion, is the capital of Crete as well as the largest city in its region, and is one of the most attractive spots tourists who enjoy history and architecture could find in this area of the country. Besides this, Iraklio is the capital of the Prefecture of Heraklion and is very popular by its important airport, the airport of Nikos Kazantzakis, named after the famous writer who was born in this city.

One of the main attractions offered by Iraklio is the ruins of the Palace of Knossos. The Palace of Knossos was the biggest and most important populated spot in Crete during the Minoan époque. This way, these ruins are very important from the point of view of history, anthropology, archaeology, architecture, and design among other disciplines, and tourists should always make sure of visiting them while being in this region of Greece.

The city of Iraklio or Heraklion was founded around the year 825 AD by a group of people from Arabic Muslim origins. During its first years of existence, there was rivalry between this town and the Byzantine Empire due to the way its inhabitants would use the strategic port which was often used to provide a hiding place for pirates.

Around the year 960, Iraklio was invaded and attacked by the Byzantines, who took control over it after a fierce battle. The Byzantines remained in Iraklio, calling it Khandak, for more than 240 years, when the Venetians acquired it as part of a deal that followed a negotiation with the Byzantines. The Venetians built several important constructions and fortifications, many of which tourists could still visit nowadays.

Towards 1899, Iraklio became an independent city, and around the year 1908 it became part of Crete and Greece. It was not until its independence that this city was formally called Heraklion or Heracleum, a word which means City of Hercules. As it can be seen, this city counts with a very rich historical past as well as an important amount of ancient constructions, being a very attractive spot for every tourist who enjoy such characteristics in a destination.

Map of Iraklio in Greece