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The ruins of Knossos, home of the mythical Minotaur kept by King Minos, were uncovered in the early 1900s by the British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans. Heinrich Schliemann, who had uncovered the ancient cities of Troy and Mycenae, had had his eye on the spot but was unable to strike a deal with the landowner.Evans spent 35 years and £250, 000 of his own money excavating and reconstructing parts of the palace.


The Prefecture of Heraklion covers the Central part of Crete; its extent is 2.640  square klm, the coast line 250  klm approximately, and it counts circa  300.000 permanent residents. It is divided in  7  provinces: Viannou, Kainourghiou, Monofatsiou, Maleviziou, Temenous, Pyrghiotissis, and Pediados.  Heraklion is the capital city of the prefecture.
As it occurs with the rest of the prefectures in Crete, Heraklion has coasts both at the North, in the Aegean Sea and at the South, in the Libyan Sea. Most of the  beaches at the North are sandy, some of them well protected from the "meltemia" (northern summer winds), due to the existing bays and small coves
The southern coasts are open to the South, with only one  considerable bay, that of Messara. Partly sandy and some of them pebbly, the beaches have crystal clear blue water and very interesting seabed, for the fans of snorkeling and underwater activities. Swimming starts earlier in the South, where the weather is a bit warmer.


Heraklion Harbour
Knossos Crete


The largest and most densely populated region on the island of Crete is Heráklion (Iráklion). Nestling picturesquely among two imposing mountain ranges – Ídi (Mt Psiloritis) to the west and Dikti (Lasithiótika mountains) to the east– Heráklion boasts exceptional archaeological treasures, significant coastal settlements, a series of picturesque villages, vast valleys with olive groves and vineyards as well as the best organised tourist infrastructure in Crete. A unique combination of urban scenery and natural wealth makes the region of Heráklion an appealing all-year-round destination.

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