The most magnificent collection of Minoan art and culture in the world, unique in beauty and completeness is housed in this museum. The exhibiton of the museum is organized in chronological order, ranging from the Neolithic period to the Roman era (4th century A.D.) and geographically, according to the provenance of the finds.
The famous Palace of king Minos and the centre of the Minoan civilisation 5km south of Iraklion. The Great Palace covered an area of 20.000 sq. meters and had 1.400 rooms. Every section of the Palace had a specific use. In the west side of the Palace were the chambers of the ceremonies, of the administration and of the public storehouse...
The history and culture of Crete, from the first centuries of the Christian era to our present time. An exceptional museum featuring a collection of extremely precious objects, a must see for every visitor to Crete. The museum is housed in a two storey neoclassical building, which was constructed in 1903 on the site of an earlier mansion.
The "Morosini's fountain" or "Lions' fountain" that dominates the center of Eleftherios Venizelos square in Iraklion old town, is a landmark both for locals and visitors. A masterpiece of the Venetian era that would be the pride of any city in the world. It was made in 1628 AD, under the supervision of the General Provisioner Francesco Morosini, to satisfy Candia's (Candia was the Venetian name of Crete and its capital - Iraklion - as well) needs for water. For this purpose an aqueduct was constructed to bring the water from the sacred mountain Giouhtas.
It is an essential public building in every Venetian city, which was not absent even from the colonies. For Candia, Loggia is considered to be one of the most elegant architectural monuments of the Venetian period, a representative sample of the palladian style. During the Venetian period, Loggia was the official meeting place of sovereigns and nobility where they discussed various topics that had to do with economic matters, commercial, and political ones.
Koules Venetian fortress (Castello del Molo )
Iraklion Venetian port
A Venetian seaside fortress situated at the entrance of the old harbour. It was built by the Venetians, before the construction of the new Venetian fortification, in order to protect the pier and the port. It took its last shape in the years between 1523 - 1540 replacing another construction destroyed by an earthquake. It has been continuously repaired due to the violent waves of the sea that always used to cause damages to its stonework and foundation. It was built with big blocks of stone and it consisted of two floors. On the ground floor there exist 26 rooms that were used to house captains or to store food and ammunition. On the upper floor there are battlements for placing canons. The upper parts of the castle and the existing base of the minaret are Turkish changes. On the outside of the main sides of the castle, there are relief plaques that stand out with the lion of St. Mark, the symbol of Venice. During the Turkish period in the dark and humid rooms of the castle, the Turks used to torture and imprison the Cretan revolutionaries. Today, the castle is open to visitors and during the summer period it is used for various cultural activities (art exhibitions, music, theatre).
The fortified enclosure of the Venetian Chandakas of the 15th century, which is still preserved today, is one of the most significant monuments of its kind in the whole Mediterranean basin. Triangular in shape, with its base at the sea, the mighty enceinte has a perimeter of about 5.5 kilometres. The hallmark of the defensive layout are the bastions, linked by curtain walls decorated at many points by escutcheons and the lion of St. Mark, symbol of Venetian omnipotence. The gates in the enceinte, which served to link the town to the countryside, still stand as important architectural monuments. To this day, the walls that withstood the Ottoman siege in the mid-17th century mark out the boundary of the old town.
The Natural History Museum of Crete is housed in the renovated former premises of the Heraklion Public Power Corporation, on Dermatas’ Bay. With an area of 3,500 m2, it is the largest exhibition of its kind in the Mediterranean, showcasing the natural environment of Crete and the wider Mediterranean area in an innovative, original way.
Agios Titos Cathedral
Iraklion Old Town
With the recovery of Crete from Nikiforos Fokas, the seat of the bishopric is transferred from Gortyna to Chandakas, which became the capital of the island. The new cathedral, which is the most established and largest in the city, is dedicated to the Apostle Titos. Here, amongst other relics, there are gathered the Holy Skull of the Apostle and the miraculous icon of Messopapaditissas. When the Venetians took over Crete, they installed in the orthodox bishop the Latin archbishop, converting by that the church of St. Titos into a Latin bishop. In the middle of the 15th century, the Latin archbishop, F. Dandolo is renovating the church. Other distractions, caused by earthquakes and fire, resulted to the rebuilding of the church from the start around 1557. The church was a basilica, almost square in shape, with a dome in the middle and a bell-tower in the southwest corner. The church from the inside was divided in three aisles with two series of columns. During the Turkish period, the church was given to Fazil Ahmet Kioprouli and it was changed into a mosque, while the bell - tower was transformed into a minaret. The big earthquake of 1856 destroyed the temple which is being, once more, rebuilt. After the exchange of populations, the Church of Crete repaired it accordingly, and in 1925 it was dedicated again to Apostle Titos. East of the church there was the building of the archdiocese.
The Cathedral of St. Minas:The small church of St. Minas did not meet the religious needs of the constantly growing Christian community, so the demand arose for the erection of a new cathedral. The plot for the new church used to be a garden that belonged to a Turk from whom it was bought. The architect was Athanasios Moussis and in 1862 the foundation stone of one of the most magnificent and impressive Greek churches was laid. The outbreak of the Cretan revolution of 1866 demanded the stopping of the building work which will continue in 1883 in order to be completed in 1895, when the inauguration of the exquisite temple took place. The church is of the cruciform type with a dome based on a high spandrel, while internally there are also elements of a three aisle basilica. It has two bell towers, one in the northeastern corner and the other in the southeastern one. The right aisle is dedicated to Apostle Titos and the left one to St. Ten Martyrs of Crete. The inside of the church has gone through many changes with new additions. With plans of the architect Anastasios Orlandos the woodcut icon screen was replaced by another one made of marble, the same happened with the bishop's seat. The religious painting of the church was assigned to St. Kartakis who followed faithfully the principles and the models of the Byzantine icon painting. The hundredth anniversary from the inauguration of the Cathedral Church of St. Minas (1995) was celebrated with every solemnity that is suited in an equal occasion and more specifically to one of the most glorious and imposing Greek churches.
Saint Mark Basilica
Heraklion old town
The Basilica of Saint Mark is one of the most important Venetian buildings-monuments in Heraklion. Today it houses the city’s Municipal Art Gallery. The Venetians, wishing to consolidate their dominance over their new colony (Heraklion) and to express their gratitude and love for their mother country, built a church in the city’s centre dedicated to Saint Mark, patron saint of Venice. The Basilica managed to survive various earthquakes which afflicted Heraklion over the centuries with only minor repairs. During the Turkish rule it was converted into a mosque, the Defterdar Mosque, named after Defterdar Ahmet Pasha, the head of the financial department. The Ottomans demolished the bell-tower of the basilica and raised a minaret in its place, which in its turn was taken down by the residents of Heraklion after the liberation of the island in their attempt to erase the unpleasant reminders and symbols of the Turkish occupation.
Agia Ekaterini church and Exhibition of Byzantine Art and Ecclesiastical objects. A small sinaitic church of St. Catherine with a Basilica design, houses an exhibition with works of art from the Cretan renaissance. Among the exhibits are some of the most important icons of the Cretan School, ecclesiastical books and manuscripts, vestments, ecclesiastical vessels and relics, wall-paintings, wood-carvings and sculpture.
Monastery of St. Peter and St. Paul
Iraklion Old Town
It is situated approximately in the middle of the seaside wall. It was built from the first years of the venetian domination and belonged to the monastic order of Dominicans (Domenicani Predicatori). It was one of the most important and biggest Catholic monasteries of the city. The earthquake of 1508 caused a lot of damages to the temple. It consists of a long aisle which is roofed by a two slope roof and ends at a sanctuary roofed by two vaults. To the north and south wall of the temple there are windows of different types that were opened either during the Turkish period, or even earlier. To the continuation of the sanctuary and towards the south side of the temple there are chapels. Other building constructions exist to the north and west of the temple. During excavations that took place recently in the wider area of the temple (area of Kastella) graves of the second Byzantine period came to light and underneath them an extended habitation of the Arabic period that gave a lot of information for the architecture and the style of life of that era. The finds from this excavation are exhibited in the Historical Museum. The whole area has been expropriated in order to conserve the antiquities and its historical character, as well as to preserve a free view of the venetian monastery. The monastery, partly destroyed during the Turkish occupation, was made into a mosque of Sultan Ibrahim with a minaret at its southwest corner. Today it is reconstructed under the supervision of the 13th Archaeological Service and the Cretan Archdiocese. After the reconstruction, the holy place will be used as a festive temple and a meeting place for international, orthodox, Christian and religious congresses. The excavations at Kastella, east of the church of St. Peter & St. Paul, where graves of the 2nd Byzantine period were uncovered as well as an extended habitation of the Arabic period beneath them
Martinego Bastion - Kazantzakis tomb
The bastion heart shaped in plan with an acute angle, has two "piazza bassa" and one cavalier. It defines the southeast and the highest part of the fortification. Its name is due to Gabriele Tadini Martinego (1520) who started the construction of a circular tower at the place of the later bastion. It was one of the strongest bastions (the others were that of Pantocratora and that of Vittouri) which also suffered the main attack and most of the bombardment from the Turks. On the top of the bastion itself there was made a cavalier (which looks like a smaller bastion), whose main purpose was the better defense and control of the area around the bastion.
The grave of Nikos Kazantzakis, the famous Cretan writer, is situated on the highest point of the Venetian fortification at the Martinego cavalier. The inscription by the wooden cross reads: " I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free ", a phrase taken from "The Odyssey" which Kazantzakis considered as one of his most significant works.
The playgrounds of the Academy of the local football team "Ergotelis" are located today on the main bastion and in the ditch around the bastion are the botanical gardens of the city.
Agios Georgios Gate
Iraklion Old Town
The Gate of Agios Geórgios (GR: Πύλη Αγίου Γεωργίου - Saint George also called the Gate of Maroula or Lazaretto) was one of the central gates of Chandax during the Venetian period. Today it connects Eleftherias Square with Ikarou Avenue and at the same time is used as an exhibition venue. The gate used to lead towards the eastern provinces of the city, the Maroula suburb and the Lazaretto. Designed by Giulio Savorgnan and dedicated to St. George, the monumental city side facade featured a relief medallion of the warrior saint on horseback, set directly above the finely carved stones that formed the main portal. This monumental facade was demolished in 1917 for the opening of today’s Democratias Avenue. Of the gate today, its entrance towards Ikarou Avenue is preserved, the internal domed hall and part of its climbing arcade which have been restored by the Municipality of Heraklion.
It was made by "capitano" Gianmatteo Bembo between 1552-1554, it dominates in today's Kornarou square, next to a later Turkish philanthropic fountain. It is decorated with coats of arms and other elements of the renaissance and of gothic type, while in the middle a big headless statue stands out of the roman period. The spring is ornated with floral and embossed elements.
Philanthropic fountain (Koubes)
Kornarou square, Iraklion City
It was built in 1776 by Hadji Ibrahim aga. In order to keep it working, he dedicated almost all his property. It is unique in its kind that is still preserved today. It is of a circular type building with a "tholos" and around the walls there are semi-circular windows with rails, in front of each one of them there exist a tap with a stone basin for the water to be collected. Today it is used as a coffeehouse.
Battle of Crete Museum
The Museum of the Battle of Crete and National Resistance (1941-1945) was founded by the Municipality of Heraklion in May 1994.The museum's aim is to collect, preserve and exhibit relics from 1941-1945 in an appropriate manner, as well as to document and disseminate information on the people's struggle during the Battle of Crete and the German-Italian occupation. In addition to presenting a range of material witnesses to the past, the museum aims to cultivate interest and respect for the history of Crete. Contact details: Doukos Beaufort and Merambellou Str. Tel. (+30)2810 246 554
The «General Provisioner» Antonio Priuli made it in 1666 and it is situated today behind the "Bodosakeio" Primary School (in the area of the Venetian Dermata Gate). He decorated it with round and square columns with Corinthian type capitals, while a triangular pediment crowns the whole construction. From both sides of the columns there are niches with their metopes elaborately decorated. In the middle of the fountain there is a Turkish inscription where there is a reference to the name of the Turkish pasha who managed to bring water again in the fountain.
Iraklion Old Town
It is next to the external Gate of St. George, underneath the statue of Eleutherios Venizelos. Within an arched construction, which its top is decorated with floral elements, there is a plaque and the spout is within a relief decorated frame. The water was collected in a marble basin of a similar decoration.
Iraklion Old Town
It was built in the end of the 17th century. Today it is found behind the Historical Museum of the city. It is decorated with two columns with floral capitals, while in between them and inside an arched construction there is a marble plaque with relief decoration. The water was running from a specially made hole at the bottom of the plaque, into a marble basin.
Genitsar aga's fountain
It is in the Ikarou Avenue, next to the Epigraphic Collection of Heraklion Museum. Within an arched construction which, is surrounded by two big square columns, decorated with rosettes, there is a relief spout of fine workmanship. The water is gathered in a marble basin adorned by a richly decorated relief.
Iraklion Old Town
It was made by Giovanni Sagredo between 1602-1604, part of it has been built in the Northwest corner of today's Loggia (Town Hall) and it is decorated with a carved female statue which according to Gerola's description probably with the left hand she was holding a shield, while with the right one a kind of a big hammer for display, representing the personification of Crete.