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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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 Kavos Beach Apartments & Studios
At a quiet and beautiful location on the coast of Kavos, Kavos Beach Apartments & Studios features views over the Cretan Sea. more...
 Sun and Sea Plus Resort
Providing a garden and free WiFi, Sun and Sea Plus Resort provides accommodations in Plaka. more...
 Villa Argyro
Featuring air-conditioned accommodations with a balcony, Villa Argyro is located in Azoyirás. This self-catered vacation home features a garden, grill facilities, free WiFi and free private parking. more...
 Villa Nimertis
Boasting an outdoor pool and a jetted tub, Villa Nimertis is located in Xirokambi village. more...
 Prines Extra
Prines Extra is located in Prinés and offers a shared lounge, a garden and a terrace. This vacation home provides free private parking, a 24-hour front desk and free WiFi. more...
 Marathi Villas
Located in Marathi, 22 miles from Plaka, Marathi Villas provides a garden and free WiFi. more...
 Spilia Village Hotel & Villas
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...
 Atsipopoulo Villas
Featuring a private pool with sun terrace, the stone-built Atsipopoulo Villas is located in Atsipopoulo Village. more...
 Radisson Blu Beach Resort, Milatos Crete
Set on the edge of the Aegean Sea, Radisson Blu Beach Resort in Milatos is surrounded by turquoise waters and beautiful beaches. more...
 Villa Chris
Featuring air-conditioned accommodations with a balcony, Villa Chris is located in Atsipópoulon. This self-catered villa features a garden, grill facilities, free WiFi and free private parking. more...
 Rithymna Mansion
Featuring a private pool and a furnished sun terrace, Rithymna Mansion is located in Prines Village of Rethymno. more...
 Blue Beach Villas Apartments
On a private beach in Stavros, Blue Beach offers a pool, a tennis court and a traditional restaurant. The self-catered rooms have a balcony overlooking the Cretan Sea and Akrotiri’s landscape. more...
 Little Bay
Set in a colorful Cretan garden, the Little Bay is a beachfront hotel located by the Blue Flag beach of Stavros of Akrotiri in Chania. Units are spacious and each has its own kitchenette. more...
 Nautica Hotel Apartments
Located on Stavromenos Beach, Nautica Hotel offers a swimming pool. The self-catered rooms have free Wi-Fi and a balcony overlooking the Cretan Sea. A homemade breakfast is served. more...
 Villa Castello
Featuring an outdoor swimming pool, a garden, and barbecue facilities, Villa Castello provides accommodations in Dhafnés with free WiFi and garden views. more...
 Cathrin Suites
Cathrine Suites is set in the historic Acrotiri, only a 2-minute walk from the beach of Zorbas. It offers self-catering accommodations, a pool with children’s section and a garden with barbecue more...
 Boutique Villa Kalliope
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...
 WeCrete Apartments
Located in Liridianá, WeCrete Apartments offers accommodations surrounded by olive groves and views over Kissamos Bay. The apartment includes an outdoor pool, with barbecue area. more...
 Ravdoucha Beach Studios
Located in lush surroundings right on the pebbly beach of Ravdoucha, this family-run property offers air-conditioned studios with balcony overlooking the Cretan Sea. more...
 Traditional House Star
Traditional House Star is located in Gerani and offers a terrace. The vacation home, set in a building dating from 1984, has free WiFi and free private parking. more...
 Zorbas Beach Village Hotel
This beachfront hotel is located in a 30,000-m² area right above Akrotiri peninsula, where the famous movie Zorba The Greek was filmed. more...
 Elounda Blu Hotel
This hotel is conveniently located 0.9 mi from the village center of Elounda in Crete, 47 mi from Heraklion airport and 6.2 mi from cosmopolitan Agios Nikolaos. more...
 Evelyn Hotel
Featuring an outdoor pool, Evelyn Hotel in Stavros has accommodations with free WiFi and free private parking for guests who drive. more...
 Grand Hotel Holiday Resort
Grand Hotel Holiday Resort rests 16 miles east of Heraklion International airport and 1.6 miles from Hersonissos on the north coast of the Mediterranean island of Crete. more...
 Iberostar Creta Panorama & Mare
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...




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