Crete: Supermarket Of Style
It is an entrenched assurance that variety is the spice of life. Thusly, we’ve been apprised of various ways by which we can go about pursuing our epicurean and enterprising endeavors. When you’ve accrued a wealth of culture throughout the millennia, you can be sure your diversity credentials are off the charts. Minoans, Greeks, Dorians, Macedonians, Romans, Arabs, Ottomans, Phoenicians, Persians, Venetians, even Franks and Visigoths have left their mark on this singular island. There’s even Paleolithic stuff to see. The mosaic that blankets Crete is a supermarket of style. Where else can you see fragments of a long lost civilization widely regarded as the first organized society in Europe alongside mosques, Christian citadels, and Venetian fortresses on leper islands? If the answer to that question feels hard to figure out, it’s probably because there isn’t one. If planning to venture into the grand expanse that is Crete here’s a few tips on what to visit that will make your holiday experience more rounded.
Knossos should probably be on your radar if you haven’t had the chance to visit. This is without doubt the jewel in the crown; the first recorded civilization in Europe, a Great Rift Valley of sorts, if you will. For its here that Linear A emerged, amongst the ruins of what once was the center of commercial and social activity in the Mediterranean, some 5,000 years ago. If you’d like to find out more about the Minoans be sure to visit the palaces of Phiastos, Malia, Zakros as well as the excavated town of Gournia. The ancient town of Falasarna which lies underwater mostly, is also worth a trip.
The Romans got in there for a while and some of the neat stuff they left behind can be seen in places like Gortyna, one of the three ancient city states that fought against the Romans before eventually falling to Melletus Critecus of Rome 69 AD. On the northwestern part of the island lies the Roman Fountain in Aptera, a settlement dating back to the 12th century BC, which technically is also a Minoan site. Amongst other things you can check out the well preserved theater and cisterns as well as the remains of an aqueduct.
The ancient town of Lissos was a Hellenistic era settlement that peaked sometime in the 9th century BC. Its notable assets include an Asclepion medical sanctuary that hosted pilgrims from all corners, it is speculated. The Romans took over it at some point and what’s left is a necropolis and a theater.
You should not consider leaving before visiting the breath taking Spinalonga Island. This small islet was a Venetian Fortress, turned leper colony at the turn of the 19th century. Its eerie solitude and ghostly ambience jolts the senses wide. The Venetians had Crete on lockdown for the best part of 4 centuries so look out for the typical stone fortifications that pop up here and there. In particular we recommend the Koules, Chania, Fragkokastelo, Heraklionand Gramvoussa Island.
Crete: Supermarket Of Style
Crete is like ground zero of European civilization, almost as if history comes to life. Tread lightly for you never know what might be underneath you. They never did manage to find the Minotaur’s bones.