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Crete Island

According to a Greek saying, a Cretan's first loyalty is to his island, his second to his country. The insular Cretan mindset-shaped by centuries of bitter resis­tance to relentless invasion-causes the island's people to view even their fel­low Greeks as foreigners. Cretans are nonetheless friendly to the outsiders that continue to vacation on their beloved home, and visitors will enjoy a healthy dose of that old Greek hospitality. Like the long-moustached men in black who sit by the harbour polishing their high boots, the island welcomes you but tends to remain aloof.

Records of Cretan life reach back to 6000 BC, when Neolithic inhabitants dwelled in open settlements and placed terra-cotta statuettes on mountaintops to honour their deities. When settlers arrived from Asia Minor around 3000 BC, Cret­ans forged a civilization that would distinguish Greece , the Mediterranean , and all of Europe . Through the next two millennia, Crete 's Minoans developed unprece­dented technological and artistic abilities, constructing enormous palaces which still astound archaeologists and casual observers alike. Modem excavations have turned up shards of decorated pottery, colourful frescoes, intricate jewelry, cere­monial horns, stone libation vessels, and small sculptures.

Catastrophes--earthquakes, a tidal wave from an enormous volcanic eruption on Santorini, and Mycenaean invasions-plagued Minoan society; three times, the Minoans rebuilt from the ground up. Distinct artistic styles accompanied each rebuilding period. The Early Period's iconography makes it famous: women on thrones appear repeatedly, leading to speculation that early Minoan society may have been matriarchal. The Middle Period brought a political and artistic high point , as the Palace at Knossos dominated a prosperous Aegean marine empire. Later Greeks dated their own origins to the Middle Period, when Zeus was born on Mt. Ida , the mythical Minotaur munched men in the Labyrinth of Knossos, and the Athenian king Theseus wrested power from Crete 's Minoans and handed it to the Achaeans of mainland Greece .

In the 8th century BC, the Dorians occupied the island, carpetbagging with their own ideas about jewelry-making, sculpture, pottery, and language. Conquering Romans later set up camp, only to find the island an unstable aristocratic hangout rife with intercity fighting. Next, Crete fell under rickety Byzantine rule, resulting in the construction of countless Byzantine churches, until the Arabs conquered Crete in AD 827. The Byzantines eventually regained the island but lost it again to Frankish crusaders in 1204. After being sold to Venice , Crete became a commer­cial hub, with fortified ports ringing the island, and developed an early middle class, dominated by Venetian nobles and local merchants.

Cretans look back on this period far more fondly than on the Ottoman occupa­tion that followed. From the late 17th century until Prince George 's liberation of the island in 1898, Crete was Ottoman turf. After the Balkan Wars of 1913, Crete joined the Greek state. During World War II, the island combatted German occupa­tion with strong guerrilla resistance; the period is regarded with pride. Since then, Crete has been spared conquerors and attacks as a part of the Greek nation.

Today, Crete is divided into four main prefectures: Hania, Rethymno, Iraklion , and Lasithi. Transportation networks are based on the prefectures. It's easy to get around within a prefecture, but bus transportation between prefectures can be more complicated, so make your plans with the divisions in mind.


 

Online Travel guide with the best accommodation in Crete. Find the cheapest hotels is Crete & get exclusive online deals. Great rooms at bargain prices. Book online now! Compare Hotel Prices and read Reviews from others.

Great Hotel rates and information See photos, reviews & what's nearby Crete . Detailed tourist and travel information about hotels of Crete providing also regional information.

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 Antonia Blue Villa
Antonia Blue Villa, Mourniaí
Antonia Blue Villa is located in Mourniaí and offers an outdoor swimming pool and barbecue facilities. This villa has air-conditioned accommodations with a terrace and free WiFi. more...
 Villa Mariposa
Villa Mariposa, Chania Town
Located in Chania Town, Villa Mariposa provides accommodations with a private pool and private parking. This self-catered vacation home has a garden and grill facilities. more...
 Villa Dimi
Villa Dimi, Kalathas
Offering a private pool and free bikes, the stone Villa Dimi is in Kalathas Village. It features a fully equipped unit with garden views. Free WiFi is provided in public areas. more...
 Koukounari luxury villa
Koukounari luxury villa, Chania Town
Koukounari luxury villa offers accommodations in Chania Town, an 11-minute walk from Venizelos Graves and 1.6 miles from Conference Centre of MAICh. Guests benefit from a terrace and an outdoor pool. more...
 Vederi Estate
Vederi Estate, Vederoi
Quietly located amid an olive grove, Vederi Estate consists of 3 traditional villas each with a private pool. more...
 Alianthos Villa
Alianthos Villa, Tersanas
Set in Tersanas, Alianthos Villa features a garden with an outdoor pool and magnificent sea views. A tennis court is available on site. Free WiFi is provided. more...
 Villa Rodea
Villa Rodea, Rodia
Located in Rodia, Villa Rodea has accommodations with a private pool. This property has free WiFi. The villa features a Hot Tub/Jacuzzi flat-screen TV and a living room. more...
 Kavos Beach Apartments & Studios
Kavos Beach Apartments & Studios, Stavros
At a quiet and beautiful location on the coast of Kavos, Kavos Beach Apartments & Studios features views over the Cretan Sea. more...
 Villa Kalli
Villa Kalli, Adelianos Kampos
Villa Kalli is a villa located in Adelianos Kampos, 3.7 mi from Rethymno town and 14 mi from Bali. more...
 Boutique Villa Petra Amanda
Boutique Villa Petra Amanda, Fílippos
An elegant blend of traditional architecture and stylish details, Boutique Villa Petra Amanda features a spa bath and a private swimming pool. more...
 Venetian Palace
Venetian Palace, Chania Town
Set in Chania Town, 656 feet from Archaeological Museum of Chania, the Venetian Palace offers accommodations in a restored Venetian stone house. Free WiFi is offered. more...
 S&K Villas
S&K Villas, Kalamaki
Offering an outdoor pool, the modernly built and elegantly decorated S&K Villas are located in Kalamaki of Crete, within 3.1 mi from Chania Town. more...
 Villa Boutique Residence
Villa Boutique Residence, Foinikiá
Set amid blossomed gardens, in Foinikia, the split-level Boutique Residence has a private outdoor pool and a sun terrace with sun loungers. more...
 Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa, Crete
Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa, Crete, Elounda
Set on Elounda coast, the 5-star Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa, Crete combines luxurious accommodations with award-winning cuisine and a state-of-the-art spa. more...
 Manos house
Manos house, Agia Pelagia
Featuring barbecue facilities, a garden, and a terrace, Manos house has accommodations in Agia Pelagia with free WiFi and sea views. more...




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Greece Top Destinations
Athens-Attica
Central Greece
Crete
Cyclades
Dodecanese
Ionian Islands
Northeast Aegean
Northern Greece
Peloponnese
Saronic Gulf Islands
Sporades and Evia

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