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Heraklion

Heraklion

Heraklion has a population of around 190.000 people. Heraklion sprawls over the landscape and is home to the famous Knossos Palace, Knossos Museum and the Naval Museum. Its also the birthplace of Nikos Kazantzakis a famous Cretan author who wrote such books as Zorba the Greek. Nikos Kazantzakis is so popular, that the airport in Heraklion is named after him.  This airport is used for all international flights and domestic flights into the east side of Crete.

The cultural heritage of the city of Heraklion offers a variety of forms of modern entertainment. Every year, the city, as well as numerous villages in the surrounding area, organizes cultural events such as theatrical performances, art exhibitions, musical nights and festivals which attract a lot of people, locals and visitors alike. For those inclined to modern entertainment and clubbing, the city offers ample opportunities for night life. Heraklion is a city with one foot rooted in the past, the other foot stepping into the future.

It is a very dynamic and cosmopolitan town, particularly during the summer period. Today Heraklion is the top choice for tourist destinations in the Mediterranean.

If you begin a walk around Heraklion, starting at the fishing harbour close to the modern port, what will strike you first is the Venetian fortress at the harbour gate. The fortress was originally built by the Venetians and called Rocca al Mare, but is now known by its Turkish name, Koules. It has a mixed history for centuries it was used as protection against invaders, as were the great city walls and ditches. These are among the longest city walls in Europe.

With its huge dark hallways and cells, the fortress was also a prison to many Cretan rebels and those who broke the rules imposed by successive occupiers of Crete. Koules is built on two tiers and offers a commanding view of Heraklion from the battlements. Nowadays, the harbour itself is home to brightly coloured fishing boats and busy Taverna's selling fresh fish.

Walk slowly through the Agora, the Market Street that runs alongside a shopping boulevard called 1866, after a Cretan uprising. The market  is large and sprawling, from top to bottom, with some shaded sideways exits. 

There is also a weekly market located now towards the outskirts of the city and hosts more locally made products at lower prices.