Information about the place HERAKLIO (Town) CRETE - GTP - Greek Travel Pages

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Heraklion City

  The city was regained by the Byzantine Empire in 961 A.D. after many unsuccessful attempts. After the Crusaders occupied Constantinople in 1204, they gave Crete to Boniface of Monferrat who sold the island to Venice for one thousand pieces of silver. Under Venetian rule the arts flourished and Candia, as the Venetians renamed it, became a centre of learning. Many scholars and artists took refuge in Candia after the fall of Constantinople in 1453. The Venetians began construction of the city walls in 1462, which were completed more than a century later. The walls were 4km in length, of a triangular shape and had seven bastions. The Venetians also built the harbor and various other masterly architectural works. The walls proved their deterrent strength when the city was besieged for 21 years, one of the longest sieges in history. The final surrender came in 1669 after 100,000 Turks and 30,000 Venetians had been killed. Turkish occupation was heavily resented by the Cretans and continuous guerrilla warfare was waged against the Turks and, in return, the Turks often made reprisals against the Cretan population in the cities. Iraklion grew in size after the 1913 union with Greece. However, its strategic location again made it a target for invading forces in 1941. The German bombardment during the Battle of Crete caused a great amount of damage and after the war the city was extensively rebuilt. Chania was originally the capital of Crete. The administrative centre of Crete was transferred to Iraklion in 1971.
  Today Iraklion is the biggest city in Crete (and fifth in Greece) with a population in excess of 130,000. It concentrates most of the economical activity of the island, and is the main port of entry to Crete for the majority of visitors. The Iraklion airport receives approximately 15% of the total tourist traffic of Greece.
  This extract is cited October 2004 from the URL below, which contains image

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