Greece Estate Group


October 14, 2008

Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Heraklion is the largest city and capital of Crete. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece; while it retains its own local cultural traits (such as its own dialect, poetry, and music). Crete was the center of the Minoan civilization (circa 2700–1420 BC), the first civilization in Europe and the first European country with a palace (at Knossos).

Crete is the largest island in Greece and the second largest in the eastern Mediterranean Sea (after Cyprus). It is located in the south of the Aegean Sea separating the Aegean from the Libyan Sea.

Crete is extremely mountainous, and its character is defined by a high mountain range crossing from west to east, formed by three different groups of mountains. These are:

  • the White Mountains or Lefka Ori (2,452 m (8,045 ft));
  • the Idi Range (Psiloritis (35°11′N 24°49′E / 35.18°N 24.82°E / 35.18; 24.82) 2,456 m (8,058 ft));
  • the Dikti Mountains (2,148 m (7,047 ft));
  • Kedros (1,777 m (5,830 ft));
  • Thripti (1,489 m (4,885 ft))

These mountains gifted Crete with valleys, such as Amari valley, fertile plateaus, such as Lasithi plateau, Omalos and Nidha; caves, such as Diktaion and Idaion (the birthplace of the ancient Greek god Zeus); and a number of gorges.

Crete’s principal cities are:

  • Heraklion (Iraklion or Candia) (137,711 inhabitants)
  • Chania (Haniá) (53,373 inhabitants)
  • Rethymno (31,687 inhabitants)
  • Ierapetra (23,707 inhabitants)
  • Agios Nikolaos (19,462 inhabitants)
  • Sitia (14,338 inhabitants)
Greece Estate Group