“Every inch of Iraklion is worth being painted. It is a chaotic, absolutely unusual, very heterogeneous, a dream city, that hovers in the emptiness between Europe and Africa and smells intensely of raw skins, caraway seed, tar and subtropical fruit,” (The Colossus of Maroussi, 1940).
Iraklion is a relatively young city; its rise began just after 1923. Without further ado the city was declared as capital of Crete in 1972.
The City wall
Visually the most impressive relic of Iraklion’s heyday is the remains of the old city fortification. Only a few remainders are left of the Byzantine city wall. The vast second fortification, the Venetian wall, represents one of the technical wonders of the 16th century. The wall has a length of roughly 5 km.
Venetian harbor and Kastro Koule
The Venetian harbour is said to be the ideal start off for a walk through the city. The fortress of Koule has become a symbol of the city and a memory of those days when the Venetian trade- and warships were anchored there.
Church Agios Titos
The church is consecrated to Titus, who stayed as first bishop in Gortys on the instructions of his travelling companion Paulus 59 AC. and who built up Christianity on Crete.
The Venetian Loggia and armoury are a reminder of the Venetian heyday. The construction was erected between 1626 and 1628. In 1911 in the world’s fair in Rome the Italians rebuilt an exact copy of the loggia from Iraklion.
The Platia (square) Venizelou is located in the middle of the old town. The lanes around the square are very busy. In the centre of the square is the Morosini fountain. The upper waterbasin is carried by four gargoyling lions that are said to date from the 14thcentury.
No friend of literature should leave out the Kazantsakis Monument. The spectacular panoramic view and Kazantsakis words on his gravestone: ‘I don’t hope anything, I don’t fear anything, I am free” are inviting not only for a rest, but also for some minutes of contemplation. We shouldn’t forget that here, has been laid perhaps one of the most important Cretan’s ever.
Historical and Ethnographical Museum
One of the outstanding sights of Iraklion, unjustly not frequently visited and not well known, is the Historical and Ethnographical Museum on the beach road.
Iraklion’s Archaeological Museum is one of the most important of its kind, not only in Greece or the Mediterranean but in the world. The museum lives on the uniqueness and the amount of its findings, which come from all over the island and are mostly from the Minoan period.