Wednesday, March 19, 2008





Heraklion, the fourth largest city in Greece, is the largest in Crete and its capital city. Founded in 824 AD by the Saracens, close to the site of the Palace of Knossos, it was ruled by the Byzantine (from 961), sold to Venice in 1204, conquered by the Ottoman in 1669 (after a bloody siege that lasted 22 years), included in the British Zone during the Great Power Supervision (1898-1908), part of the Cretan State in 1908, and finally incorporated in Greece in 1913, as well as all the rest of the Island!

"VENETIAN FORT - The importance of the port grew during the Byzantine period, reaching its glory days in Venetian times. The Venetians placed here a major trading centre and one of the main naval stations for their fleet. Thus, important works were made, including the building of walls around the harbour. The Fort was built in 1211, and was initially named "Rocca al Mare" (rock at sea). Collapsed by the earthquake of 1303, was rebuilt during the years 1523-1540"

"THE MOROSINI FOUNTAIN, a landmark of Heraklion and one of the city's finest monuments, is named after Francesco Morosini, Captain-General of the Venetian forces in Crete and future Doge of Venice from 1688 to 1694, during the Great Turkish War. The eight-lobed basin is adorned with a relief including scenes from mythology and marine life, together with coats of arms. Above the basin are four lions from whose mouth water flows. The fountain had a statue of Poseidon, which was later destroyed"



Rethymno developed when the Venetians created an intermediate commercial port between Heraklion and Chania. Today's Old Rethymno, one of the best preserved old towns in Greece, was almost entirely built by the Venetians"

"FOUR MARTYR CHURCH - When you get to Rhetymno, the easiest place to leave your car is the parking lot in front of the municipal garden (apparently an old Ottoman cemetery), at Plateia Tessaron Martyron (Four Martyrs' Square). The Square and the Church got their name from the four Christian Martyrs decapitated by Turkish troops in 1824 on this site"

"THE PORTA GUORA, the only intact remnant of the Venetian city walls, leads into the old town central square, where the beautiful Loggia and the Rimondi Fountain were situated"

"OLD TOWN ALLEYS - Shopping paradises..."

"THE RIMONDI FOUNTAIN, re-built in 1623, has three lion heads (from where fresh drinkable water still flows) and four columns with Corinthian capitals at the top. It was a fundamental water source in the sixteenth century"

"LIGHTHOUSE - The Venetian lighthouse is still there today"

"THE VENETIAN PORT at the Old Town is nowadays the main seafood restaurant centre of Rethymno"

"TAVERNA KNOSSOS - With Maria taking the order and his brother as a show-man, it's one of the nicest and most reliable fish restaurant in town. Looking somehow a French bistro, is included in the «Guide du Routard» and, no wonder, Maria speaks French..."


"FORTEZZA - View of the impressive Venetian Fortress (a bit blurred). Built in 1573, it was one of the largest Venetian castles ever built with four bastions and three gates. It didn't resist long, however..."



Located on the west of Crete, 70 Km from Rethymno and 145 from Heraklion, Chania is the most densely populated area outside the Athens and Thessaloniki areas. Chania was the site of a Minoan settlement (Cydonia), saw the Greek domain, the Byzantine ruling, flourished under the Venetians and declined under the Ottoman (from 1645 through 1898). In 1898, the Great Powers made Chania the capital of the Cretan State, with Prince George of Greece, the High Commissioner of Crete, living there. In 1908, Eleftherios Venizelos, born near Chania, established a revolutionary government, recognized by the Great Powers. His election as prime minister of Greece (1910) was the last step before Crete was united with Greece on December 1st, 1913. Occupied by German forces during WWII, it became a tourist destination in the seventies, though the capital was moved to Heraklion in 1971!

"CHANIA PORT - Chania's Old Town was heavily bombed during World War II; nevertheless it's considered the most beautiful urban district on Crete, especially the Venetian harbour"

"THE FOUNTAIN at Eleftherios Venizelos Square"

"PANAGIA TRIMARTIRIS - The Orthodox Cathedral of Chania was built around the 13th century. During the Turkish era, it is said that the church was converted into a soap factory but was still regarded as a sacred place..."

"CASA DELFINO, an elegant 17th Century Venetian mansion, is the only luxury hotel near the Old Venetian Harbour"

"RESTAURANT on the wall of the Venetian Harbour"

"MOSQUE OF THE JANISSARIES - The Turkish mosque (Hassan Pasha) was built in 1645. It houses now an art gallery"

"VENETIAN HARBOUR Restaurants (tourist traps?)"


"NIGHT VIEW - Old Chania Venetian Port"


Anonymous said...

Assuming that during Easter time visitors have a bit more time, I made a longer post today to cover three of the four main towns in Crete (Agios Nicolaos had already been dealt with) and to say goodbye to the Greek Islands 2006. See you there in 2007!

Annie said...

Ah, here I can see the reason for dreams of visiting the Greek Isles.

Anonymous said...

Old town alleys and the fortress were my fav pics :) GMG maybe in one of the posts you could write abt experiences with regular Greek people. cheers.

virtual nexus said...

Like the lighthouse!

..Just in passing, have you had a look round photoblog ? - some very good stuff there, and a fast upload for shots. I went on to it when blogger was on the blink loading photos.

alice said...

Mais tu pourrais tout à fait concurrencer le Guide du Routard avec tous les restaurants que tu connais!

S-V-H said...

All these pictures are beautiful and made me more and more dream about visiting Greece one day too!

Jo's-D-Eyes said...

Wow GIL,
We are both posting about GREECE!
You about Kreta, Yes its such a lovely place, we have been there countless/many times, I love being there... You have my heart with this publication Gil.

Co-Incidental? I quess so , I posted photo's from the greek island Samos, but for the reason That my dog named after a greek Island, just a quess...

I want to wih yu and your wife a good EASTER weekend, come and see my view on Greece...

Greeyings from JoAnn and IOS
(Dog with a name from aGreekisland) :)

Peter said...

I can understand why you went back to Greece last year!
... and I would trust you more than the "Guide de Routard" - have had some bad surprises!

(Too bad you are not coming to Pars this weekend! Soon, I hope!)

lyliane six said...

Merci pour les commentaires sur mon blog. Vous devez connaitre les géants, ils étaient au Portugal au XIIIème siècle.Mes ancêtres ont fait le commerce du sucre avec Madère, j'ai vu des tableaux flamands dans les églises.Le département du Nord a été très influencé par la pénincule Ibérique, mais le ciel n'est pas aussi bleu que dans les belles îles grécques, mais sur les côtes de la mer du Nord, il y a aussi beaucoup de bons poissons.
Très intéressant et instructif post. Bonnes Pâques à vous deux aussi, c'est la tradition chez vous d'offrir des amandes?
Elles sont déjà mures? ici on offre des oeufs, nids poules, lapins en chocolat.

JO said...

BEAUTIFUL! It looks liek such a fabulous trip - Lots of yummy restaurants with fab views too! I want to go!

JO said...

PS Love the last pic

Anonymous said...

Awesome blues !! Greece is never going to be a boring destination but somehow some of your pictures remind me of Italy.

kuanyin333 said...

Was on a speaking gig when I visited Crete and booked solid for healing sessions so never got to sightsee....mahalo for showing me what I missed! :-(

julia said...

Exhausted. Great tour. Where will Concorde take us next? Hope its take off rather than the unthinkable.

Ming the Merciless said...

Love the photos of the restaurant by the sea. Interestingly enough, Hania looks more like Spain than Crete, but I guess that is because of the Turkish influence, like you said.

Iraklion & Rethymnon look very typically Greek especially in the last photo of the Fortezza, with the white wash buildings and turquoise blue sea.

Shionge said...

Yo you are a great City-Hopper Gil and thank you for 'bringing' us along as I know I would not be able to travel to all the wonderful places you have visited :D

Indrani said...

Yet another amazing post. For the time being I have to be content seeing the snaps and I liked the intro u gave for the pictures.

Ele ^_^ said...

Wonderful places and pic.. Mi piacerebbe viaggiare così tanto come fai tu.. Great ^^

Anonymous said...

lovely! Nice and warm. It is a very beautiful place! :) I wish I was there. :P :)

Alex's World! -

99 said...

Since I was in Greece many years ago I permanently wear a pendant with the reproduction of the Phaistos Disk. The mystery of it caught my attention and blew my imagination. I keep it around my neck with other similar pieces of culture that I find fascinating. That way, when I look at myself in the mirror they remind me my own past travels and adventures and trigger in me thoughts about culture similarities.

Obrigado for sharing all the info and pictures.

Ash said...

Wow...these are enchanting!

Happy Easter to you and your loved ones.

Marie said...

Oh la la this blog is a marvel. I could spend hours reading your articles (reportages!) but for the moment I am a very bad friend blogger. Too much to do !

Have a nice Easter.

Azer Mantessa said...

now its coming back to me. when my eyes caught the word Heraklion, all the sudden i remember my storybooks i used to read when i was a kid. then i remember the word crete ... i knew i have come across this word somewhere ... a historical places full of myths and interesting stories ... heroes, wars, monsters and all

now it's coming back to me ... phewwww

Olivier said...

une belle balade, j'apprécie beaucoup la "THE MOROSINI FOUNTAIN". Toujours un plaisir de venir chez toi

lv2scpbk said...

These photos are great and it looks like a wonderful place to visit.

Nihal said...

** My wishes to you all an Easter full of love, peace and joys of spring time, Gil **


Neva said...

Your photos are always lovely to see. The sky is so clear and blue....and that I really like the it still a working lighthouse?

Happy Easter to you and yours!

Admin said...

Happy Easter!

Greetings from the Philippines!

Adventure tayo!

EMNM said...

Greece! i love this country, the food, and greek music!

I´ve been there few years ago

Tinsie said...

Great post as always, Gil! I've only been to Chania, but I'd love to visit Herakleion and Rethymno too one day.

Did you stay at Casa Delfino? Is it as lovely as I've been told?

Lilli & Nevada said...

You again have taken me to a wonderful place. Great information and great photos

Steve Buser said...

I have definitely decided that you have the largest and most interesting travel photo collection in the world!

Pijush said...

Waoww.. Its Greece.. What a post with lovely photos, great.

How are you Gil, back from my break and will not miss your future posts. Thanks for your comments in my blogs. Keep smiling and Happy Easters, Njoy

Anonymous said...

have a great Easter holiday GMG!

Anonymous said...

WoW...some very beautifully captured shots...simply love the place through your lens......

Daniel Chérouvrier said...

Quel beau pays quand il s'est débarassé des colonels.

Azer Mantessa said...

Happy Easter and have a nice weekend :-)

Sigma said...

Lovely .... these cities look so deliciously quaint .....
so ... did you have fun shopping in the alleys ? ;-)

Lakshmi said...

No wonder they say Greece is so beautiful..loved the narrow alleys and the old town charms..happy easter to you

Anonymous said...

Thanks! Just make your dream come true…

Thanks. You know, I always doubt from the «tourist» impressions you get with «regular people» on a fifteen day trip basis… I have many Greek friends but not from the tourist visits, and I tell you that I highly enjoy their company, cheerfulness and friendship!

I’ll check photoblog. Anyhow, one of these days I’ll reach the limit of uploads in Blogger, so I’ll have to deal with the issue. I’ll cross that bridge when it comes…

C’est vrai que mes amies viennent chez quand ils ont besoin d’informations touristiques… ;)

Time to start the bookings…

So, you’re also a Greece lover… Samos is on my list; Ios had everything booked but, unfortunately, had to cancel…
Thanks. Hope you had a great Easter!

Thanks for the trust!!! With very limited vacation time, options are somehow restricted; so, Greek Isles are an obvious choice!
Paris asap… ;)

C’est vrai que Cabeçudos (grandes têtes) et Gigantones (géants) sont très familiers dans les fêtes populaires ici au Portugal; et c’est vrai aussi que je me rappelle très bien de masquer la cane au sucre en Madère quand j’étais petit…
La mer du Nord, ça me rappelle toujours Brel, un de mes chanteurs favoris; à 20 ans je connaissais presque toutes les chansons (disons les 50 plus connues) par cœur!!
Quand aux amandes, elles sont couvertes de sucre et les meilleurs, les plus délicates, on les appelle «françaises»… ;))

Still a bit early to get there, but you may start booking… ;))

Boring, it isn’t… Similar to Italy? That’s only because you’ve never been (but you should) to Portugal… ;))

Healing sessions, no sightseeing? It doesn’t sound a great programme… ;)

You don’t know how I regret that Concorde is no longer flying, and that I’m no longer sleeping 150 nights abroad/a year… ;))
Ok, next will be Munich, and then Bilbao!

Thanks for the comment. I’m not so sure about Hania being more like Spain than Crete due to the Turkish influence. Most Greek islands were in Ottoman hands since more or less 1500 (Crete since 1670), as well as the mainland. In Spain, only Granada resisted under the Nasrid influence until 1492… Iraklion and Rethymno show great Venetian influence. No wonder, they built all those forts and castles to resist conquerors coming from the sea…
Well, anyhow history and geography may be quite debatable, I would assume… ;)

Island hopper, city hopper… but somehow retired now… ;))

Thanks. You’re always welcome!

Great to see you back here after a so long time away. Where did you travel to? India?
Ma io sono oggi un viaggiante scarsamente attivo…

Thanks for coming here, since you’re not yet there… ;))

Phaestos Disc is a great mystery, as no one has yet deciphered what’s written there. Amazing that you wear one reproduction around your neck…
Obrigado (é masculino; feminino: obrigada) pela visita!

Thanks. How’s the MBA running?

Thanks for your visits and comments, even with so much to do… Love to see you around!

Azer Mantessa,
Thanks. Oh yeah! Birth of Zeus in the Diktian Cave; Zeus and Europa; Minotaur, the Labyrinth, Theseus and Ariadne; Daedalus and Icarus, the Drossoulites of Frangokastello… all around Crete!

Merci. Je me réjouis de te voir récupéré!

It surely is a great place to visit!

Thanks! Great time also for you!

Thanks. All those Venetian lighthouses – in Heraklion, Rethymno and Chania – are still working as lighthouses today!

Thanks! Great to see you back here. Hope you had a great Easter time!

All that you mention contribute to make it a great destination: food, music… blue sky, blue sea, sunny days, warm water…

You were probably on the nicest of the main cities… Rethymno is also interesting; Heraklion probably too official to be interesting (except that Knossos is quite close and the Museum is there…)! And don’t forget Agios Nicolaos!!
Casa Delfino was fully booked and they didn’t take reservations for less than a week or three nights, depending of the season, so we didn’t stay there. But we dropped by to have a look, and next time we settle on the West side of Crete, we’ll book it there. At least for the three nights minimum… ;))

Lilli & Nevada,
Thanks. My pleasure to take you there…

Thanks! I’m sorry that my New Orleans post has so lousy pictures, but fortunately we may see it decently in your blog!

Glad to see you back here! Thanks for the comment!


C’est vrai que les pays deviennent certainement plus beaux quand les dictatures s’en vont… mais l’histoire politique de Grèce depuis le Schisme National (La Grande Division -«Ethnikos Dikhasmos») est très troublante...

Thanks! I’m not a great shopper!

Thanks. Now you see how beautiful it is...

Maria Verivaki said...

some of your photos resemble my own of my own town!
nice work

Trotter said...

It's your own town, believe me... ;))