Crete – the beautiful Greek island

By admin ~ January 14th, 2010. Filed under: Crete.

Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Crete is one of the 13 peripheries of Greece and covers the same area as the Greek region of Crete from before the 1987 administrative reform. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece; while it retains its own local cultural traits (such as its own music and dialect), Cretans identify themselves as Greeks. Heraklion is the largest city and capital of Crete.

Crete was the centre of the Minoan civilization (circa 2600–1454 BC), the oldest Greek civilization. The island is the location of significant ancient history, which provides popular modern day tourist destinations. They include the Minoan sites of Knossos and Phaistos, the classical site of Gortys, the Venetian old city and port of Chania, the Venetian castle at Rethymno and the Samaria Gorge. The Nikos Kazantzakis International Airport is located just outside Heraklion.

For centuries, Crete was known by its Italian name Candia, from the medieval name of Heraklion. In Classical Latin it was called Creta and in Turkish Girit.

Crete Culture

By admin ~ January 14th, 2010. Filed under: Crete, Culture.

Crete has a rich cultural history.  From the Minoans through the Roman, Turkish and German occupation to the present day democracy, traces of Crete’s history remain throughout the island: the Archaeological sites at Knossos and Phaistos, Byzantine churches and monasteries, Venetian and Neoclassical architecture, even minarets and mosques.

Cretan food

By admin ~ January 14th, 2010. Filed under: Crete, Eating.

Much of Cretan’s culinary heritage can be sourced to the Ancient years , particularly most of Cretan food is based in olive oil and healthy products. Appetizers such as dakos (bread and soft white cheese in olive oil) and octopus pickled in lemon juice and olive oil. Cheap snacks such as souvlaki (skewered, grilled meat in pita bread) and spanakopita (spinach and cheese pie) are easy to find. Popular main dishes include moussaka (eggplant baked with minced meat and béchamel sauce), stuffed tomatoes, and freshly grilled seafood. The mainstay of the Cretan diet is the ubiquitous horiatiki salata (country salad), consisting of cucumber, tomatoes, onions, feta cheese and olives. Greek yogurt, more like sour cream than the thin sharp-tasting version available in most countries, is delicious and sold everywhere.

The Best Beaches in Crete

By admin ~ January 14th, 2010. Filed under: Crete.

Falassarna is 50 km west of Chania, and is one of the best beaches in Chania. Long and sandy, this beach has extremely clean water and an idyllic ambience. Nearest village: Platanos

Elafonisi 82 km south west of Chania. it is a small islet with magical crystal water. It can be reached by boat from Paleochora as the road leading there is track and difficult.

Kalyvs is a long sandy beach with well organized tourist amenities. 20 km to the east of Chania

Hersonisos One of the most famous resorts of Crete, offering all kind of facilities and accommodations to its thousands of visitors

Battle of Crete

By admin ~ January 14th, 2010. Filed under: Crete.

The Battle of Crete was a battle during World War II on the Greek island of Crete. The battle began on the morning of 20 May 1941, when Nazi Germany launched an airborne invasion of Crete under the code-name Unternehmen Merkur (“Operation Mercury”) Greek and Allied forces along with Cretan civilians defended the island.

After one day of fighting, the Germans had suffered appalling casualties and none of their objectives had been achieved. The next day, through miscommunication and the failure of Allied commanders to grasp the situation, Maleme airfield in western Crete fell to the Germans, enabling them to fly in reinforcements and overwhelm the Allied forces. The battle lasted for about ten days.

The Battle of Crete was unprecedented in three respects: it was the first mainly airborne invasion; it was the first time the Allies made significant use of intelligence from the deciphered German Enigma code; and it was the first time invading German troops encountered mass resistance from a civilian population. In light of the heavy casualties suffered by the parachutists, Adolf Hitler forbade further large scale airborne operations. However, the Allies were impressed by the potential of paratroopers and started to build their own airborne divisions.