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Shepherd Entertainment takes you on a tour of Heraklion, the capital of Crete which is located in the middle of the northern ...
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The capital of Crete is Heraklion. The meaning of the word is the city of Heracles. The ancient Greek and modern Greek language can both be found in Greece. Due to the island’s vast tourism, there are lots of English signs and tourists call the cities and sites by the name used for them in their own language. This leads to real cacophony. The capital is located in the middle of the northern shore. In ancient times, one of Knossos’ harbors was home to the most significant slave market. It was first governed by Arabic and Saracen pirates followed by the Byzantines then later Phoenicians. Because of the Turkish threat, Venice turned the commercially and strategically important city into a fortress with huge walls and towers. Many of these have even survived the destruction of the Second World War. The winged lion of St. Mark looks down proudly at the harbor. The Turks besieged the city for 20 years before they managed to capture it. 30000 defenders and 100000 attackers died during the siege. The Turkish reigned over the island from 1669 until 1850. The remains of the Venetian dry docks can still be seen next to harbor. This is where the ships of the famous Venetian fleet were once built and repaired but not it only provides shade for the tourists. The main square of Heraklion is the Platiya Eleftherias or freedom square. The streets of the city center are too narrow for the increased vehicle traffic as in most Mediterranean cities many people use scooters instead of cars. The shops, bakeries, grocers, the little cafes, banks and offices serve the local people rather than tourists who generally use Heraklion as a starting point or transit station. The beautiful neoByzantine eclectic Agios Minas cathedral was built at the end of the 19th century proving that the later ages added more to the cities than just square houses. The main attractions of the cathedral are the four icons of the 16th century painter, Mikhail Damaskinos. Damaskinos studied in Italy and later was the first master of El Greco who was also born on the island of Crete. The people born on Crete have always played an important role in Greek cultural and intellectual life. The world famous composer, Theodorakis and the writer of Zorba, Nikos Kazantzakis were also born on the island. Kazantzakis was also buried here and his shrine on the Martinengo bastion proclaims his hymn of freedom. I believe in nothing, I hope for nothing, I am free. The main street of the city is the August 25th Street. This is where most of the travel agencies, car rental agencies and money changers could be found. Several ancient buildings were discovered when the town was being built. The ruins and the archeological museum offer relics of the Minoan culture that cannot be seen anywhere else. Although there are no beaches for bathing in the capital, there’re several pleasant beaches nearby like Agia Pelagia and Amoudara that await tourists with numerous hotels, hostels and places of entertainment. Restaurants, discos and bars line the beaches and the streets running parallel to it.