European civilization formed around the island of Crete. It contains roots of some of the most glorious and flourishing empires known. Between 2800BC and 1400BC, the first European civilization, the Minoans, a woman dominated society, bloomed around Knossos, Phaistos, Zakros, Mallia, and Archanes. They were taken over by the Myceneans.Around 1100 BC, the Dorians invaded the Myceneans. The region entered what historians see as a dark age. This Dark Age refers to the period between the Dorian invasions to the first rise of Greek city states in the 9th century BC. The civilizations saw a fall in cultural growth. This is said to have happened due to an ecological catastrophe. Afterwards Classical Greek civilization prospered in the years that followed. The Romans conquered Crete around 67 BC. Gortyn became the capital of the Roman province of Crete. It was one of the first towns to welcome Christianity.During the Byzantine period Crete became an important centre for Christianity. From 824AD to 961AD, Saracens seized the island and from 1204 Crete was taken over by the Venetians until 1669 when it fell to the Ottoman Turks after a 22-year siege. Crete regained its autonomy in 1897 and was united with Greece in 1913. Its troubles were not over as it suffered under Nazi seizure in World War II.
The weather of Crete is good in summers and the best time to visit this beautiful place is during the months of June and July
For a person aiming to savor the best of Crete, the primary attraction should be Knossos. Knossos contains the ruins of the palace of King Minos, of the Minoan civilization, where he kept his legendary Minotaur in a labyrinth. A visit to Phaistos and the archaeological museum in Heraklion should round off the tour nicely. A tour to the gorge of Samaria is a must. Ridden with valley and caves, it is a paradise for exquisite flora and fauna. The Elafonisos and Matala beaches are two of the most scenic beaches of Crete. A taste of food and drink and Greek folk music should give one a complete conception about Crete. Tsikoudia is the the trademark of Cretan life, a strong clear drink similar to Grappa in Italy or Orujo in Spain. Stifado Salingariko - snail stew is a specialty, and cheeses like Anthotiros(spring cheese), Graviera(hard cheese) and Myzitra(made from eweï¿½s milk). Crete is famed for its casual, sporty nightlife. Endless parties go on in taverns, fraternity dances, bars, nightclubs, lounges, and discos. The music covers a variety of scenes ï¿½ from the 40ï¿½s pop to twenty first century dance tunes, metal and hip hop. The lists of these venues are by no means exhaustive. Heraklion and Agios Nikloas are more well-known and crowded areas.
Places worth visiting in Crete are Historical Mountains, Beaches.The best beach is Elafonisos. Matala was a hippie resort in the 60s but now is wholly appropriate for families. Xerokambos and Frangokastello are quiet beaches. In general you should watch out for sea urchins and jelly fish.T sikoudia is the the trademark of Cretan life, a strong clear drink similar to Grappa in Italy or Orujo in Spain. Stifado Salingariko - snail stew is a specialty, and cheeses like Anthotiros, Graviera and Myzitra.Folk music is played everywhere. Lï¿½ra, the dominant folk instrument is a three-stringed fiddle, direct descendant of the ancient Lyre. It is often accompanied by the Cretian lute (laoï¿½to), which is similar to both an oud and a mandolin.
Crete is famous for its tasty and healthy cuisine. Visitors can join in the hundreds of fiestas going on in villages complete with live folk music. Crete has an assortment of delicious locally produced cheeses, such as Graviera (hard cheese), Myzitra (cheese of ewe's milk), Anthotiros (soft spring cheese).One of the most traditional dishes of Crete is snails. Smoked ham and smoked sausages are also traditional meat items as well as mountain goat or lamb cooked in different techniques. Cretan pilaf is a mouth-watering combination of chicken and lamb risotto served with goat's butter. Another delicacy is the souvlaki, which is pork meat, lamb, chicken or fish cooked on skewers. Sardines, Red mullets, fried squids, Atherina (fried tiny fishes), Roasted Octopi and wine-cooked octopi are seafood delicacies .Dakos (Cretan Rusk with tomato, feta cheese, olives, oregano and olive oil), Horta vrasta (boiled greens,olive oil and lemon juice), Greek salad(cucumber, tomatoes, onion, feta cheese and olives) are appetizing salads. Fried courgettes, fried eggplants and courgette crockets are also popular vegetables. Amigdaloto is a popular made with almonds as well as Greek yogurt with honey. Tsikoudia, or "raki" is the trademark Cretan drink. It is made out of the 'must' of grape skins and twigs after the local production of the white wine Cretan wine was produced in the island for at least 4000 years.
Crete is not only an island where people come to see the historical and archaeological sites and wallow in the past. This is one island in Greece, which is recognized for its endless parties. Taverns, fraternity dances, bars, nightclubs, lounges, and discos- you name it, Crete has it. There are endless stretches of nightlife in Crete. Cretan parties are casual and a place to relax, it let your hair down and seriously unwinds, unlike the uptight, on-the-edge urban American nightlife; and this is what makes Crete so coveted by holiday makers. Heraklion and Agios Nikloas are more well-known and crowded areas. After dark, Malia and Hersonissos also set up their around each and every corner. Instead of staying in one place only, travelling throughout the island offers the most thrill. It is better to get information about the ï¿½hot spotsï¿½ from the hotel concierge or have a guide recommend them. The music ranges through a variety of scenes from the 40's pop, to late twentieth century music, electronic, modern hip hop and dance tunes, traditional Greek, or even heavy metal can be going on at any given time. The lists of these venues are by no means exhaustive. Thus the advantage is, there are clubs on either side of the street and if one bores customers, there are plenty more within a stone’s throw distance.
Shopping in Crete mainly survives upon the street markets. There are a few weekly street markets in the towns. The street market on Saturday in Chania in Odos Minoos is the most popular one. The market provides local fruit like melons; vegetables like tomatoes and horta which is different types of greens; fish and meat. Local cheeses (Graviera: hard cheese; Myzitra: cheese of ewe's milk; Anthotiros: soft spring cheese), Cretan wine and honey can be found everywhere. The Cretan trademark drink is better bought from these shops than the supermarkets and cheaper. The same goes for the widely available olive oil. The thyme honey from Omalos is famous. Fresh herbs like thyme, oregano and marjoram are cheap and can be taken home. Medicinal herbs like diktamos or Cretan dittany are also available. Earthenware like the traditional pit hoi or storage jars are very rare but can be still found in the village markets. Traditional dark blue glazed ceramics, copper, bronze, terracotta and wooden items are available everywhere. Weaving, carpets and kelims can be found in old Chania in Topanas. Traditionally, knives were not only for protection but were also a status symbol and can be found in Sifaka Street in Chania.Stunning jewels and copies of Minoan and Byzantine ornaments can be found in Agios Nikolaos, Rethymno and Heraklion.The main supermarket chains are INKA, Champion and LIDL. There areSupermarkets are open from 8.00am - 8.00pm.
Until very recently Crete was not equipped such as to allow free movement of disabled people. Sidewalks are uneven. Wheel chairs allow disabled travellers better mobility. The slim shape of scooters may make it less difficult to navigate around Greece's passageways. For Walker/Cane/Stroller Users, rubber soles are absolutely vital to give a grip on slippery stones since in Crete, most gravel are marbles. Buses are generally not very accessible, but the latest buses on main routes will have a space for wheelchairs and a lift. Trains and ferries are almost completely inaccessible to people with mobility difficulties. Catamarans tend to be the better bet for handicapped travellers, with big cabins. Internationalhotels provide the best accommodations for disabled visitors, however these are very expensive and completely wheelchair-friendly rooms carry prices higher than US $70 per night. Hotel Eria contains a pool lift and particularly equipped sightseeing vans. Disabled visitors are uncommon, thus, it is very important to query the management’s capability at handling handicapped visitors before taking a residence. Many areas of Knossos are available to wheelchair. Parts of Mycenae are fairly reachable, but the steep ancient ramp intended to trouble invaders will be a difficulty. Access by wheelchair is poor past the Lion Gate. The main floor of the Heraklion museum is accessible.