One Day In Heraklion - Greece


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Europe » Greece » Crete » Heraklion
April 26th 2011
Published: July 13th 2011
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Dear Friends,

Due to the possible problems in Alexandrie (Egypt) we don't visit this city. In stead of Alexandrie are we sailing to Heraklion, the captitol of Crete and the fourth largest city of Greece.
The weather is great. We don't go to the ruins of Knossos, but we visit the old city center today.

To learn more about Heraklion, read the Wikipedia article here below. Thanks to Wikipedia

Name

The city was named Arabic rabḍ al-ḫandaq 'Castle of the Moat' in 824 AD. This was hellenized as Χάνδαξ (Handax) or Χάνδακας and Latinized as Candia, which was taken into other European languages: French Candie, English Candy, all of which could refer to all of Crete as well as to the city itself; the Ottoman form was Kandiye. Locally, it is often called Κάστρο (Kástro, "castle") and its inhabitants Καστρινοί (Kastrinoí, "castle dwellers").
The name Ηράκλειον was revived in the 19th century and comes from the nearby Roman port of Heracleum ("Heracles' city"), whose exact location is unknown. English usage formerly preferred the classicizing transliterations "Heraklion" or "Heraclion", but the phonetic form "Iraklion" is now becoming more common.

History

Heraklion is close to the ruins of the palace of Knossos, which in Minoan times was the largest centre of population on Crete. Though there is no archaeological evidence of it, Knossos may well have had a port at the site of Heraklion as long ago as 2000 BC.
Founding
The present city of Heraklion was founded in 824 AD by the Saracens who had been expelled from Al-Andalus by Emir Al-Hakam I and had taken over the island from the Byzantine Empire. They built a moat around the city for protection, and named the city ربض الخندق, rabḍ al-ḫandaq ("Castle of the Moat"). The Saracens allowed the port to be used as a safe haven for pirates who operated against Byzantine shipping and raided Byzantine territory around the Aegean.
Byzantine Era
Further information: Byzantine Greece
In 961, the Byzantines, under the command of Nikephoros Phokas, later to become Byzantine Emperor, landed in Crete and attacked the city. After a prolonged siege, the city fell. The Saracen inhabitants were slaughtered, the city looted and burned to the ground. Soon rebuilt, the town of Chandax remained under Byzantine control for the next 243 years.

In 1204, the city was bought by the Republic of Venice as part of a complicated political deal which involved among other things, the Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade restoring the deposed Byzantine emperor Isaac II Angelus to his throne. The Venetians improved on the ditch by building enormous fortifications, most of which are still in place, including a giant wall, in places up to 40 m thick, with 7 bastions, and a fortress in the harbour. Chandax was renamed to Candia in Italian and became the seat of the Duke of Candia. As a result, the Venetian administrative district of Crete became known as "Regno di Candia" (Kingdom of Candia). The city retained the name of Candia for centuries and the same name was often used to refer to the whole island of Crete as well. To secure their rule, Venetians began in 1212 to resettle families from Venice on Crete. The coexistence of two different cultures and the influence of Italian Renaissance lead to a flourishing of letters and the arts in Candia and Crete in general, that is today known as the Cretan Renaissance.

Ottoman Era


The Ottoman Vezir Mosque (1856), built on the site of the Byzantine church of St Titus, and now the basilica of St Titus.
After the Venetians came the Ottoman Empire. During the Cretan War (1645–1669), the Ottomans besieged the city for 21 years, from 1648 to 1669, perhaps the longest siege in history. In its final phase, which lasted for 22 months, 70,000 Turks, 38,000 Cretans and slaves and 29,088 of the city's Christian defenders perished. The Ottoman army under an Albanian grand vizier, Köprülü Fazıl Ahmed Pasha conquered the city in 1669. Under the Ottomans, the city was known officially as Kandiye (again also applied to the whole island of Crete) but informally in Greek as Megalo Kastro (Μεγάλο Κάστρο; "Big Castle"). During the Ottoman period, the harbour silted up, so most shipping shifted to Chania in the west of the island.


In 1898 the autonomous Cretan State was created, under Ottoman suzerainty, with Prince George of Greece as its High Commissioner and under international supervision. During the period of direct occupation of the island by the Great Powers (1898–1908), Candia was part of the British zone. At this time the city was renamed "Heraklion", after the Roman port of Heracleum ("Heracles' city"), whose exact location is unknown.
With the rest of Crete, Heraklion was incorporated into the Kingdom of Greece in 1913.

Municipality

The municipality Heraklion was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 5 former municipalities, that became municipal units:
Gorgolainis
Heraklion
Nea Alikarnassos
Paliani
Temenos

Port

Heraklion is an important shipping port and ferry dock. Travellers can take ferries and boats from Heraklion to a multitude of destinations including Santorini, Ios Island, Paros, Mykonos, and Rhodes. There are also several daily ferries to Piraeus, the port of Athens on mainland Greece.
Airport
Heraklion International Airport, or Nikos Kazantzakis Airport is located about 5 km east of the city. The airport is named after Heraklion native Nikos Kazantzakis, a writer and philosopher. It is the second busiest airport of Greece, due to Crete being a major holiday destination.
There are regular domestic flights to and from Athens, Thessaloniki and Rhodes with Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air. Athens Airways also offers flights to and from Athens. Cyprus Airways and Aegean Airlines fly to and from Larnaca, in Cyprus. Furthermore, Sky Express operates direct flights to Aegean islands such as Rhodes, Santorini, Samos, Kos, Mytilini, and Ikaria.
Aegean Airlines has an international schedule to and from London and Paris and EasyJet flys direct from London Gatwick. During the summer, the number of scheduled and chartered flights increase as do the number of airlines that fly direct from all over Europe (mostly Germany, UK, Italy, and Russia).
The airfield is shared with the 126 Combat Group of the Hellenic Air Force.
Highway Network
European route E75 runs through the city and connects Heraklion with the three other major cities of Crete: Agios Nikolaos, Chania, and Rethymno.

Enjoy the photos

See you next time on the Costa Cruises Sailorsblog.

From the living sea with love

Jacqueline and Adriaan

alias Monkey and Bear


Additional photos below
Photos: 69, Displayed: 26


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13th July 2011

Heraklion Voor mij en plek met een bijzonder herinnering van 27 jaar geleden

Tot: 3.017s; Tpl: 0.081s; cc: 13; qc: 69; dbt: 0.0891s; 2; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 2; ; mem: 1.5mb