Living in Crete

History & Monuments

 HISTORY & MONUMENTS

Crete’s history extends from 6000 BC to the 21st century. An overview of its history will demonstrate how Crete played a leading role
in progressive civilization in the Minoan period, how being occupied by various countries led to locals being stronger and fighting
harder. It is a constant in Crete’s history to fight for freedom and independence – admirable traits.

discover 4000 years of history 

Minoan Period (3000-1.100 BC)

The civilization that was developed was named Minoan after the legendary King Minos, by English archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans during his excavations of the Palace of Knossos.

The Minoan arrived on Crete from North Africa or the Middle East and brought with them the necessary skills for making bronze (and so this period is known as the Bronze Age). This enabled them build stronger, more durable boats and in turn this enabled them to broaden their trade horizons. The Minoans established a naval empire, built their first palaces (Knossos, Faestos, Malia), produced fine pottery and jewelry and in this time art and science flourished. This intelligent and progressive civilization, being the first advanced civilization to emerge from Europe, vanished abruptly as the eruption of the Thira (Santorini) volcano caused huge tidal waves that reached Crete and swept away its people and creations.

SPINALONGA

Spinaloga is a small rocky islet - area 85000 square meters, highest point 53m - in the entrance of the lagoon of Elounda. Spinaloga, since antiquity, has protected the harbor of ancient Olous.  It used to be one of the most powerful fortresses of the Venetian Crete, and it was never conquered. Its high walls were built in 1579 and are preserved today intact.

PHAISTOS

Phaistos was one of the most important centres of Minoan civilization, and the most wealthy and powerful city in southern Crete. It was inhabited from the Neolithic period until the foundation and development of the Minoan palaces in the 15th century B.C. The Minoan city covered a considerable area around the palatial centre. After the destruction of the palace in the 15th century, the city continued to be inhabited in the Mycenaean and Geometric periods, that is, until the 8th century B.C. 

DIKTAION CAVE

The cave of Psychro (Diktaion Antron or Diktaian Cave) is one of the most important cult places of Minoan Crete. The use of caves as cult places was one of the basic characteristics of the religious beliefs of the ancient Cretans. Cult practice probably begins in the Early Minoan period (2800-2300 B.C.) - although in the antechamber are preserved traces of an even earlier occupation  In the last decades of the previous century, inhabitants of the area found ancient items inside the cave. The numerous offerings to the cave are now exhibited in the Herakleion Museum and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

FRAGOKASTELO

On the south coast of Crete, on a magnificent white sandy beach, stands one of the most beautiful Venetian fortresses, Fragokastello, built in 1371. It is located approximately 140 km from Iraklion, 60 km from Rethimnon, and 80 Km from Hania.

Today, Fragokastello is a small, but developing, community, with nice beaches covered in sand dunes, and limited, but increasing, tourist facilities.