Crete, ancient isle

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Crete is an island in the Mediterranean Sea and is the fifth largest of the Greek isles forming a large part of the country’s economy.

It is the centre of the Minoan civilisation which is known as the oldest in Europe and as such history is a big part of the island’s culture. It has also retained some of its own culture such as great poetry and music. The country’s name first appeared in Homer’s Odyssey.

The island is quite mountainous with a high range running from east to west while there are also great valleys including the Amari Valley. The climate is primarily temperate with a humid atmosphere and mild winters.

Among the things to do and places to visit in Crete is the Aquaworld Aquarium. Sea life is big in Crete which is an island and therefore surrounded by water. There are several species specific to the island such as crustaceans (crabs).

Equine life is also important and there are several stables including the Arion Stables that can be visited. See also the Lychnostatis Open Air Museum and the Balos Lagoon.

There are over 2000 restaurants on the island with over 1300 serving native Greek cuisine.

Among the lower range are the Spyros Taverna in Gouves and The Alchemist in Koutouloufari. On the higher end are the Kapetan Dimitris and Lotus Eaters. The island has two main international airports as well as a ferry service with transport to Athens on mainland Greece.

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Crete, cradle of European civilisation

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The island of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea is the largest of the Greek isles and the most populous.

The second largest island in the Mediterranean after Cyprus- Crete is teeming with history. It was once the centre of Minoan civilisation which is recorded as the earliest known European civilisation.

The culture is rich. Known for Mantinades poetry and music, and dances the most notable being the Pentozali. Crete is also rich with archaeological sites such as Knossos and Phaistos and there are also Minoan, Roman, and World War II ruins.

Crete is mountainous and has three different groups of mountains forming part of a range running from east to west. The island is plush with fertile plateaux, valleys, caves, and gorges. The climate is primarily temperate and there is snowfall in the mountains between November and May.

Heraklion is the largest city and capital, with more than a fifth of the island’s 600,000 people.

Crete has a road network larger than that of Britain and is well-served by ferries from the mainland city of Athens.

Crete is a veritable den of flora and fauna not seen anywhere else in Greece or other parts of Europe. There are no large or dangerous mammals or snakes on the island.

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