Heraklion is the largest city in Crete with a population of about 200.000. Heraklion houses the public services and the major scientific centers of Crete, being the commercial center of the island with the main port and airport.
From a scenic city with unique traditional Venetian and Ottoman monuments in the early 1900s, as one of the most historical cities in the Mediterranean, Heraklion, unfortunately, turned into a bustling cement-dominating city, losing almost all of its aristocratic splendor. This bad development was a result of the need for rapid expansion of the city for the settling of the refugees after the Asia Minor Catastrophe (1922), but also from the effort to "modernize" Heraklion by turning the beautiful old buildings into blocks of flats.
However, even today the visitor can get a good taste of the glorious image of the past, while the locals can be surprised by the unknown corners of Heraklion and the story hidden behind them.
The history of Heraklion starts in the Minoan era, as it was the port of the legendary city of Knossos. However, the city in its present location (the old center) was built in 824 by the Arabs and later expanded and fortified by the Venetians and the Turks, who named it as the Large Castle of Candia. The current name Heraklion was given after the liberation of Crete from the Turks in 1898.
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