Crete is an island of light, the 'cradle of Zeus', with sun-drenched coastlines, picturesque villages and majestic mountains. No wonder that even the gods felt comfortable in this wonderful region of Greece.Heraklion is the capital of the largest and most southerly Greek islands, on which a highly developed culture has existed for 4000 years. The Venetians built massive fortresses to defend the island against the TurksKnossos was the capital of Crete at the time of King Minos, son of the god, Zeus, and the Phoenician princess, Europa. The Knossos Palace was a magnificent building with seven floors and around 1,400 rooms which served as living quarters, administration, storage and for courtly celebration. Most of the ruins are part of the new palace, as the first was built 2000 years before the birth of Christ. The Gortys Ruins are reminders of the moving history of an old town which was prosperous in the 5th century B.C. when Gortys became the most powerful town of the Messara Plain and throughout the olive groves between the hills can be found the scattered remnants of its past cultural riches. With its beautiful sandy beaches, the horseshoe-shaped bay of Matala is a popular coastal resort to which many come simply to experience the glorious sunsets in addition to the rich archaeological revelations of Phaistos Palace.Agia Galini is a quiet fishing village which, during the summer months, is a lively bathing resort on Crete's south coast. However, it has managed to maintain its original atmosphere with fishing boats in the harbour and crystal clear water lapping the shoreline, plus the allure of its tavernas and restaurants.Agia Roumeli is best reached by boat as it is located on a rocky coast toward the Libyan Sea. Fishing villages are few and far between and most activity takes place in the mountains which rise up majestically from the Aegean.Picturesque harbours, ancient treasures, lost legends and Greek hospitality:who could ask for more?
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