Crete – Home of Zeus
Follow me on a trip on the biggest island of Greece, the natural beauty first mentioned in Homer’s , the home of the Minoan civilisation, dating back to 2700 BC and to uncountable Empires and rulers, from Romans to Byzantines, Andalusian Arabs, Venetian and Ottomans. With mountains reaching almost 2500 m, the scenery proves it’s unicity, showing snowy peaks in winter and deep red grounds, with perfumed pine forests, lakes in the heart of natural parks, located at the centre of the island, mystic caves (one of them being the birthplace of Zeus) , cats and tortoises as inhabitants, enormous beaches and pure water spotted from everywhere, Crete contains some of the most ancient, remarkable historical discoveries, being therefore filled with legends and functioning as a nourisher of culture. While cities like Chania, Rethymno and Sisi welcomely attract through picturesque, Mediterranean, humanly charm, the Southern part of the island is more wild, exotic, with woods on rocky hills and complex fauna.
Chania – Creta’s urban gem
Maybe „urban“ would be too far from reality for an attribute, for the city of Chania is defined by it’s picturesque atmosphere, with narrow streets and medieval architectures. I have decided to start this photographic journey with a stop in „the heart of the Crete“, the place also considered one of most beautiful Greek city, trying to recreate the smell of fresh flowers and the deep breaths of salty air.
Located at the western extreme of the island, with sandy, golden public beaches, turquoise sea, delicious traditional meals (vegans won’t miss the opportunity to try a Moussaka, opting for alternative ingredients at Pulse), Chania is famous, not only the rich history and breath-taking scenery, but also for the hospitality of its inhabitants, for local culture and unique art, which is to be admired and purchased at galleries and markets, which redefine the stereotypical gift shops.
Another must is the nightlife of Chania, with clubs near to the sea and live-music and shows till the morning. Besides, the best beach and bar, for the day and for catching sundowns is for sure Aptera Beach Resort, with delicious modern meals, the most hospitable staff and perfect bathing conditions.
On the footsteps of the Minoan civilisations, of Ottomans and of Venetian, Rethymno reminds of an Italian coastal city, with the harbour and it’s lighthouse, similar to the one in Chania, with the best preserved old city and fortress on Crete (Fortezza), the city with an annual wine festival offers unique views of the unending sea and of the ancient buildings, from the hill of the fortress build in 16th century by Venetians, near to the Mosque of Sultan Sultan Ibrahim, originally the Cathedral of St. Nicolas.
Located near the capital of Crete, Heraklion, Palace of King Minos is defined as a city, due to its political, strategical, economical and cultural infrastructure. Dating back to 7000 BC, Knossos becomes the oldest city of Europe, with remains of the Neolithic period and with buildings, with objects suggesting the presence of the Minoan civilization. Despite it’s destruction and abandonment around c. 1,380–1,100 BC , which had internal, unknown (probably political) causes, with the benefit of more than one restoration. For a better comprehension of the mystical, maze-like construction, home of myths and rituals, I suggest a visit at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, the ticket costing 15 enabling the access to both attractions (free for students under 25 years).
opening this section with a still of guard change, in front of the Parliament, the road goes back in time, from Acropolis Museum, Filopappou Hill Monastiraki Square, The School of Platon, Roman Agora, Theatre of Dionysus and the historical Acropolis with Parthenon, the ancient citadel, dedicated to Artemis, the goddess of wilderness and chastity.
a warm welcome from island’s inhabitants