Venetian Heraklion and the Unique Archaeological Museum
Crete is Greece’s largest island and the birthplace of
Zeus according to mythology.
Our tour enables us to find out more of the important
period of Venetian rule and explore the jewels in
the crown of the capital Heraklion’s wonderful
structures including the ‘Koules’ fortress, Venetian
Loggia, Basilica of St Mark, medieval monastery of St
Catherine and the Cathedral of Agios Minas.
The Venetian Loggia is an especially eye-catching
and beautiful structure that still functions as the
Town Hall of Heraklion. It was built in 1620 and
was a place for Venetian nobleman to gather. The
fortifications of Heraklion surround the old city. They
were first constructed in the Middle Ages but they
were completely rebuilt by the Republic of Venice and
resisted the Ottoman Turkish forces for 22 years in the
1600s. They are among the best preserved city walls
in the Mediterranean.
The ancient city of Knossos, near the capital
Heraklion, was the place that ‘gave birth’ to the very
first civilisation of Europe, the Minoans. So we can
probably say it’s Europe oldest city. We can really
feel the sense of history and understand some of
the myths and legends of Ancient Greece here in
We also learn about some of Crete’s leading figures,
including Nobel Prize winning poet Odysseas Elytis,
the painter El Greco and the writer Nikos Kazantzakis.
We end at the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion
to find out more of the background to the history and
culture of Crete.