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Crete History - "the history is as colourful and enigmatic as the modern island today..."
From the Minoans of ancient times, through the miraculous discoveries of archaeology, such as linear scripts, revealing layer upon layer of civilisation, dynasties, rulers, monarchs, despots, pirates, traders, goddess worshippers, plunderers, creators, liberators, heroes and in between the stories, the pages, we find the soul of the people of Crete.
Ancient History 7000 to 3700 BC
Ancient History 3700 to 600 BC
How to see the collections including the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion which houses artifacts from Knossos.
The Historical Museum of Crete houses modern interactive displays covering 17 centuries of stories from 330 AD to modern times.
The ancient history of Crete from the pre-palatial period to the Twilight of the Goddess circa 1400 BC is rich with research riddles, conflicting theories and exquisite archaeological finds.
Stories tell us of the ancient Minoan period from 2600 to 1100 BC, the Geometric and Daedalian period 1100-620 BC, the Classical 500-330 BC and Hellenistic 330-67 BC periods and Greco-Roman period 67 BC -323 AD.
After the First Byzantine period 330-824 came the years of Arab rule between 824-961, after liberation the Second Byzantine period 961-1210 after which came Venetian and Genoan rule then Turkish rule for 400 years. Liberation came again in 1898 after many terrible and rebellious years. Unification with the modern state of Greece came in 1913.
The pantheon of Greek Gods and Goddesses weave their plots and stories over Kriti. Crete is home to many tales of strife, love, war and bloodshed. The myths, some of the earliest story-telling are still relevant and saucy today.
Travellers have long been drawn to the ancient sites and archaeological digs in Crete. Sir Arthur Evans, with his well publicised love affair with Knossos, has created a unique reconstruction of the palace, still debated by historians and locals alike.
The Minoan palaces of Knossos, Phaistos, Malia and Zakros draw thousands of curious visitors every year. Other extraordinary sites include Gortyna, Lato and Polyrinia.
Visit our dedicated pages about the ancient sites of Knossos, Phaistos, Malia and Zakros.
Crete is home to extraordinary historic collections in world class museums.
The stories of Crete history are told by our beautiful and haunting castles such as
Frangokastello. Dotted around the island in strategic locations that sometimes
today are very isolated, the castles are in various states of ruin.
Intrigue whispers from every stone of the Castles of Crete.
The video below features a modern woman who reminds us of the beautiful 'Women in Blue' Fresco and takes us on a lyrical journey through Knossos, the Archaeological Museum, showing some of the most precious artifacts from all of Crete.
The video below is entitled "Unravelling Ariadne's Thread Ξετυλίγοντας το μίτο της Αριάδνης…" and takes us on a magical journey through the historic wonders of Heraklion... featuring the old harbour, the fortress, the Liondaria Fountain, the Venetian Loggia, Agios Titos, and many other features of this beautiful city, lead by an entrancing beauty 'Ariadne' and her string...into the Crete history Labyrinth we willingly follow.
See the location of historic points of interest in Crete on the interactive map below.
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 on flights and ferries below.
Car hire in Crete is a really good idea as it is a large island 60 km by 260 km. There is so much to explore.
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 the team. Choose from hybrid or non-hybrid vehicles.
"We trust you have enjoyed these tips from the team at We Love Crete. Evíva!"
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