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Heraklion Area


Heraklion City is the capital of Heraklion Prefecture and of the island of Crete. It is the major commercial, technological and financial centre and possesses all the characteristics of a big, vibrant city which keeps up with the contemporary pace.

Its crucial geopolitical position in the south-eastern Mediterranean Sea has been connecting three continents and many different cultures throughout its history and therefore it offers to the visitors a long variety of places to discover. Heraklion also has one of the busiest airports (Heraklion Airport is named after "Nikos Kazantzakis") and a busy port of passengers and goods.



Starting from the fishing harbour, very close to the Heraklion Port, the Venetian fortress of Koules, the symbol of Heraklion, dominates the entrance to the Venetian harbour of Heraklion.  For centuries it was used as protection against invaders, but also as a prison to many Cretan rebels who were tortured in its dark rooms by the successive occupiers of Crete, according to legends. Art exhibitions are occasionaly taking place indoors on the ground floor and theatrical plays or concerts on the top floor. Koules is open from 08:30 to 15:00 in the winter and 19:00 in the summer, every day except Mondays. Visitors may also enjoy an enchanting and healthy walk, jogging or cycling along the fishing harbour from Koules.

The uninhabited island of Dia is also clearly visible from Koules and boat excursions can be booked from travel agencies in Heraklion downtown. Opposite to Koules and towards the city, the strong arches were used as an arsenal for storing guns and gunpowder but also housed boats under repair.

A paved street the 25th August street - at Number 15 is located Kosmos rent a car in Crete main office -, connects the fishing harbour and Koules with the centre of Heraklion. Walking up to the centre, the St. Titus' Cathedral, the Venetian building of Loggia which houses part of the town-hall of Heraklion and St. Mark's Basilica hosting today the Municipal Art Gallery and plenty art and crafts exhibitions, will successively impress the visitor. (Banks and automatic cash machines are also found along this street).

"Four Lions Square"  just opposite to St. Mark's Basilica, also known as Morosini fountain, is the heart of Heraklion centre. The fountain's main basin is supported by four sitting lions balancing a circular bowl on their heads and is decorated with stone relief, depicting figures of Greek mythology, Nymphs, Tritons, sea monsters and dolphins. In the square's area there are cafeterias, snack and ice creme shops, souvlaki shops, kiosks etc. Opposite to the square, begins "Daedalou" paved street which is suitable for a shopping therapy and a shortcut to "Plateia Eleftherias" or Freedom Square and the Archaeological Museum.

Further up, the "Agora| ie the Market Street runs along 1866 Street. Fresh fruits, herbs, fish, meat, traditional Cretan goods such as cheese "graviera" and "raki" drink, extra virgin honey and olive oil, and many other "products" of Crete are on sale. "Fish" and "meat" tavernas are also placed throughout the market's small alleys, right and left .

Plateia Kornarou or Vitzentzos Kornaros Square is found at the top end of the market and hosts a lovely Venetian fountain, the Bembo Fountain, bearing impressive decoration, although it has ceased to fount.

From this point by turning to the right, Agios Minas Cathedral, dedicated to the Patron Saint of Heraklion is found on the large square of Saint Catherine. Basilica of Agia Ekaterini, (Saint Catherine) just behind the Cathedral hosts in its exhibition room a unique collection of religious icon paintings and relics and the visitor can admire representative art work of the Cretan Renaissance that will exude a certain religious awe.

Turning to the left, Freedom Square and the world famous Archaeological Museum of Heraklion are found.

The Archaeological Museum houses archaeological findings coming from all over Crete and from different periods of time. The original treasures of the Palace of Knossos are exhibited and possess a distinguished place in the museum.

Other Museums:

Historical Museum of Heraklion, very close to Koules and located on Sofokli Venizelou Street, facing the sea, puts emphasis on the dramatic history of the city of Heraklion and will offer a genuine learning experience of 2,000 years of history to the visitors. One of the Museum's rooms, a reconstructed library,is dedicated to the world famous Cretan writer, Nikos Kazantzakis.

Last but not least, the Museum of Natural History of Heraklion, located about 1km further up from the Historical Museum, exhibits representative samples of the flora and fauna of Crete.

City Walls:

Heraklion is surrounded by city walls built from Venetians, which were used to protect the city from its enemies and invaders. It is possible to walk along the top of these walls and admire the breathtaking view over the city of Heraklion.



Published in Heraklion Area
More in this category: « CretAquarium

Kosmos Rent A Car in Crete was founded in 1979 in Heraklion. Since then our company’s course has been continuously expanding and of steady growth due to professional standards and high quality in our car rental services accompanied with competitive rates. A fact that places our company at the top of the list of car rental business in Crete...