Capsis Astoria is the perfect starting point to explore Crete and its interesting capital. The island of Crete is the birthplace of the first known civilization in Europe, the Minoan civilization. Throughout the island there are various extremely interesting and significant archaeological sights from that period. But the center of Heraklion also has many fascinating attractions, mainly from the Venetian era. The well preserved Venetian walls, as well as the various monuments of the city make it ideal for a nostalgic walk through history. Some of the sights worth visiting are:
Knossos Palace: Located 5 km South of Heraklion it is the most known archaeological sight in Crete, visited by thousands of tourists and locals every year. The palace complex expands on a surface of of 22.000 m2 and is the most important, renowned and majestic creation of the Minoan Civilization
Koules Fortress: At the entrance of Heraklion’s Venetian harbour, the Koules Fortress (also known as Rocca al Mare) gazes proudly out to the Cretan sea. It was built by the Venetians in the first half of the 16th century and served as a prison during the Ottoman rule
Phaistos Palace: Located 63 km south-west of Heraklion, in the valley of Messara, lie the ruins of Phaistos Palace. This is the second most significant palace complex of Minoan Crete and one of the three major towns that King Minos established in Crete.
Gortyn: Located 45 minutes away from Heraklion, Gortyn is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece and the first the Roman capital of Creta et Cyrenaica. Based on the excavation findings, Gortyn’s history goes back to the Neolithic era.
Nekropolis of Fourni: Located on the hill Fourni, between the villages of Ano and Kato Arhanes. It is an important archaeological site, consisting of large funerary buildings and graves. The area reveals provides important insight on the burial traditions of the Minoans.
Palace of Archanes: Located 15 km south of Heraklion in the village of Archanes, it is considered one of the most important palace centers of the Minoan period.
Tomb of Nikos Kazantzakis: The tomb of Kazantzakis, author of “Zorbas the Greek”, is located in the highest point of the Venetian fortification at the Martinego cavalier, overlooking the entire city. A mere wooden cross with his most famous quote from his book “Askitiki – The Saviors of God” engraved on it: “I hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I am free”.
Minoan Villa of the Lillies: A two-storey luxury house, in Amnissos, east of Heraklion, which was named after the lilies and floral patterns decorating the walls of the building.
Agios Minas: The cathedral of Heraklion is dedicated to Saint Minas, Patron Saint of Heraklion. It is one of the largest churches in Greece and is located in the city center
Agios Titus: Located in a beautiful square in the center of Heraklion, the church is dedicated to Saint Titus, a fellow traveller of Saint Paul who preached the gospel in Crete during Roman rule. The influences of the monuments of Constantinople are apparent in the architecture of this beautiful Christian temple.
Village of Fodele: The village in which the great Cretan painter El Greco was born is located 29 km West from Heraklion and is a beautiful valley with orange trees. The house of El Greco is now a museum and the village has plenty of Tavernas where Greek traditional food is served.