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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.


 

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 Tersanas Village Apartments
Tersanas Village Apartments, Tersanas
Within 2625 feet from Kalathas Beach in Akrotiri, Tersanas Village Apartments features a pool with a children’s section, a poolside bar and a traditional restaurant. more...
 Radisson Blu Beach Resort, Milatos Crete
Radisson Blu Beach Resort, Milatos Crete, Milatos
Set on the edge of the Aegean Sea, Radisson Blu Beach Resort in Milatos is surrounded by turquoise waters and beautiful beaches. more...
 Spilia Village Hotel & Villas
Spilia Village Hotel & Villas, Spiliá
Nestled in a green plain among citrus orchards and olives groves, Spilia Village combines traditional stone-built rooms with modern facilities including gym, free sauna and hamam. more...
 Sun and Sea Plus Resort
Sun and Sea Plus Resort, Plaka
Providing a garden and free WiFi, Sun and Sea Plus Resort provides accommodations in Plaka. more...
 Villa Thalia
Villa Thalia, Milatos
Located just 66 feet from Milatos Beach, Villa Thalia offers air-conditioned accommodations with balconies overlooking the Cretan Sea and the mountains. more...
 Tersanas Beach Lodges
Tersanas Beach Lodges, Tersanas
Boasting a beachfront location, Tersanas Beach Lodges is located in Tersanas village. It offers self-catering accommodations and free WiFi in all areas. more...
 Iberostar Creta Panorama & Mare
Iberostar Creta Panorama & Mare, Panormos Rethymno
Standing right on the shore of the Aegean Sea, Iberostar Creta Panorama & Mare is an elegant and peaceful complex boasting a pool complex of 6 pools, a spa center and 3 restaurants. more...
 lti AKS Minoa Palace - Adults Only
lti AKS Minoa Palace - Adults Only, Karteros
Right on its private area of Amnisos Beach with free sun loungers, Iti AKS Minoa Palace features an outdoor pool. Facilities include a fitness room with hammam. Free Wi-Fi is provided. more...
 Boutique Villa Kalliope
Boutique Villa Kalliope, Gavalochori
Featuring air-conditioned accommodations with a private pool, garden view and a balcony, Boutique Villa Kalliope is located in Gavalokhórion. With mountain views, this property provides a terrace. more...
 Bliss House Villa
Bliss House Villa, Plaka
Bliss House Villa is located in Plaka. Located on the beachfront, this property has a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, a garden, barbecue facilities and free WiFi. more...
 La Mer Resort & Spa - Adults Only
La Mer Resort & Spa - Adults Only, Georgioupolis
La Mer Resort & Spa - Adults Only in Georgioupolis provides adults only accommodations with a garden, a bar and a shared lounge. more...
 Cactus Beach
Cactus Beach, Stalís
Located on a private beach at Stalis, Cactus Beach offers a sea-facing terrace and large rooms. Guests can make use of the tennis court, outdoor pool and health club. 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 Rodea
Villa Rodea, Rodia
Located in Rodia in the Crete region, Villa Rodea has a balcony and sea views. Featuring garden views, a garden and a private pool, this villa also includes free WiFi. more...
 Almyrida Sands luxury stone villa
Almyrida Sands luxury stone villa, Xirostérnion
Ideally located in the heart of Xirosterni and just a short drive from the fishing village of Almyrida and its sandy beaches, Villa Almyrida Sands - Xirosterni features a heated swimming pool more...




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

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