Iraklio  2 Spaces

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-The 4th largest city in Greece sitting on the north coast of Crete, Iraklio is also known as "Iraklion" and "Heraklion". The city is the island's chief port, main industrial center and capital. More than an assault on the senses, it is a bustling hub that is cannot exactly be described as "pretty", but more of a ragged place that grows on you. Iraklio has undergone intense urban renewal, creating a waterfront precinct with a pedestrianized historic center and lively squares flanked by old buildings from when Christopher Columbus floated around.

For the historian lover, Iraklio is not just a city of urban sophistication with an abundance of cafes and restaurants, but many tourists flock here for the Bronze Age palace of Knossos (the Palace of Minos) located near the town. You can take a huge step back into the history books, as the city was the port of Knossos where the Minoans would trade in gold, saffron and ceramics. This is the scene of Europe's oldest known civilization (think 2700 BC to 1450 BC) when the Minoans worshipped female goddesses.

The old town with its 16th Century fortress and ramparts built by the Venetians commands the harbor area that is lined with seafood cafes in its pedestrian only promenade. The Heraklion Archaeological Museum will definitely increase the "wet the pants" moment for those into myths of ancient times as you gaze upon old frescoes and ceramic figurines. The Historical Museum of Crete is another cheek clincher for the Indiana Jones' wannabes, as you can get an eyeful of stone carvings, textiles and religious icons from the island's 1,700-year history.

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