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Books on History of Crete

Fascinating Stories

Minoan snake goddess clay figure

Books on History of Crete - some good tips for books about the complex and interwoven history of Crete.

Cretan History

  • A History of Crete by Chris Moorey
  • Sir Arthur Evans and Minoan Crete: Creating the Vision of Knossos by Nanno Marinatos
  • Minoan Crete, An Introduction by L. Vance Watrous
  • History of Crete by Theocharis Detorakis
  • Minoan Life in Bronze Age Crete by Rodney Castleden
  • Architecture of Minoan Crete by John C McEnroe
  • Scripta Minoa by Arthur Evans
  • The Find of A Lifetime by Sylvia L. Horwitz
  • Uncommon Dominion by Sally McKee
  • Myths of Crete and Pre-Hellenic Europe by Donald A. Mackenzie

Peace monument overlooking Preveli Beach to remember the Battle of Crete

Books on History of Crete - The Battle of Crete

During WWII in the period between 20 May – 1 June 1941, German troops invaded Crete and this time is now known as 'The Battle of Crete'. This time and the subsequent occupation of Crete by German forces until June 1945 were significant impactful periods in the modern history of Crete.

The monument pictured above is a memorial to the bravery of priests and Allied forces who together helped many people escape via the southern beaches of Crete. This involved harrowing journeys over unforgiving mountains under enemy fire, via hidden pathways, rocky gorges and secret caves.

The monument at Preveli, near the monastery and beach of the same name is named the 'Preveli International Memorial for Resistance and Peace' and shows the Abbot of the Moni Preveli and an Allied Soldier. The plague shows the flags of Greece, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

The stories that unfolded during this time can be found in the following:

  •  The Cretan Runner by George Psychoundakis
  • Crete: The Battle and the Resistance by Antony Beevor
  • Ill Met By Moonlight by W Stanley Moss
  • A War of Shadows by W Stanley Moss
  • The Film of 'Ill Met By Moonlight'
  • Anzac Fury by Peter Thompson
  • Ten Days to Destiny by G. C. Kiriakopoulos
  • Words of Mercury by Patrick Leigh Fermor
  • A Tale of Two Battles by Sir Geoffrey Cox
  • Battle for Crete by John Hall Spencer

The Ancient History of Crete

Dolphin Fresco from Knossos

See more about the ancient history of the island from 7000-3700 BC.

We continue with ancient history from 3700-600BC.

Read about the Minoan Palaces of Crete - being Knossos, Phaistos, Malia and Zakros. Each of these sites is open for visitors on Crete.

The Minoan Palaces of Crete

Knossos Palace Propylaeon

Knossos Palace
5 km from Heraklion in central Crete

Tips for visiting Knossos Palace here

Phaistos by Luigi Rosa

Phaistos Palace
62 km from Heraklion in central Crete

Malia Palace Pithoi and View to Sea, Crete

Malia Palace
40 km from Heraklion in central Crete

Zakros Palace Site

Zakros Palace
50 km from Sitia in eastern Crete

More on the History of Crete

We have a complex biography of Sir Arthur Evans, an amateur archaeologist who is credited with the 'uncovering' and scandalous restoration of Knossos Palace. 

King Minos is said to be the creator of the labyrinth, however myth and story combined with history has created a muddled puzzle just as complicated as a maze...

Vritomartis was a goddess or a mermaid - which one was it?

Minoan artwork is sensual and beautiful and speaks of a culture influenced by the feminine, in contrast to warlike artwork of other cultures in Greece. Read more about this theory here...

The monastery at Arkadi in Rethymnon in Crete was the centre of a bloody rebellion during the 1866 uprising against the Turkish occupiers...

Gortyna ...where sits a tree under which Zeus and Europa made love...more about this intriguing Roman archaeological site here...

Our visitors are intrigued by Crete and her history, when touring around the island there are historical sites and stories at every turn. Whether it is the modern history of war, recent history of rebellion and independence, or Venetian occupation, Classical Greek history, Roman invasion or mythic Goddess rituals, anyone with a skerrick of interest in history will be kept very busy in Crete.

It helps to have a good background knowledge of the history of Crete before coming to the island, so as to take best advantage of the visits to ancient sites and museum collections.

Books on History of Crete

Books on History of Crete - historic novels set in Crete, that will give you a flavour of the island before you visit or while you are travelling in Crete.

  • Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis
  • Captain Michalis by Nikos Kazantzakis
  • The Village by Philip Duke
  • The Island by Victoria Hislop
  • Heavenly's Child by Brenda Reid
  • The Memory of Tides by Angelo Loukakis
  • The Threshing Circle by Neil Grimmett
  • The Colossus of Maroussi by Henry Miller is good reading, but it is a travel narrative, not a fictional piece, a bit dated now as he travelled in the late '30's and it was published in 1941


Books on History of Crete - the following guide books will give you good travellers' tips on the history of each region as you visit, and a short history to put all the sights into context as you explore the island.

The one and only travel guidebook we have ever needed for Crete is the Lonely Planet guide, they have one for Crete and one for the Greek Islands. These and other guide books are available for purchase below. Highly recommended.

Getting Here

Take a 1 hour flight from Athens to Heraklion with Aegean Airlines or Olympic Air, with many flights available per day.

Or take a 9.5 hour overnight ferry from Pireaus port of Athens to Heraklion port.

More information on flights and ferries below.

When you book with our car rental partners - Rental Centre Crete - you are supporting a local company with excellent service and an easy online booking procedure. We are sure you will be well looked after by Harry and his team. Choose from hybrid or non-hybrid vehicles.

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We trust you have enjoyed these tips from the We Love Crete team. Evíva!

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