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Crete (Greek: Kriti, occasionally spelled "Krete" in English) is the largest of the Greek islands and is in the Mediterranean Sea between the Sea of Crete and the Libyan Sea, south of the Peloponnese. Crete is approximately 260 km long and 60 km wide. Crete consists of four prefectures: Chania, Rethimno, Heraklion and Lasithi. If there was a beauty contest for Greek islands, Crete would surely be among the favorites. Indeed, some say there is no place on earth like Crete. This view is strongly supported by those fortunate enough to have visited the island. Crete, with a population of approximately 650,000, is not just sun, sea and sand; it is a quite distinct place full of vitality, warmth, hospitality, culture and of course an excellent infrastructure

Geography, Climate, Population genetics, Cretan culture, Economy, Tourism, Notable Cretans, Cities, Political organisation, History, Airports

The Name of Crete

According to the Greek tradition Crete was a nymph, who gave her name to the island Crete. The name Crete could have probably some connection with the Greek words krato, -ein, "reign," and kratis, -o, "strong, powerful."

The same as the name of the nymph Crete also her origin and her life were associated in various tales with a legendary history of the island. Crete was sometimes considered as the daughter of one of the nine Curetes, the sons of the Earth and the attendants of the young Zeus in Crete. Elsewhere she was mentioned as the daughter of King Asterion (the "Starry One"), who married Europa and adopted her sons Minos, Rhadamanthys and Sarpedon. But it was also said about the origin of Crete, that she was one of the daughters of Atlas, who had various children.

According to some stories Crete was a wife of Minos. But Crete (or Persis) and Helios (the "Sun") are usually noted as the parents of Queen Pasiphae, the wife of the Cnossian king Minos. And Crete and Zeus became the parents of Car, the father of one of the Greek tribes – the Carians. Due to this relation with Zeus they said sometimes, that Crete was a wife of Ammon. Zeus-Ammon was adopted in Greece from the Lybian seer and ram-god Ammun, who became in the Egyptian New Kingdom Ammun-Re identified also with the sun god.

The name of this nymph - Crete and the tales about her origin and about her relations with Helios or Zeus had to demonstrate the glory of the island Crete, showing it as a powerful and an important region, which was visited even by some gods.

Heraklion the capital of Crete

Heraklion (or Herakleion, Iraklio, Irakleion) is the capital of Crete and an industrialised city of around 155,000 residents. The modern city has been disfigured by a lack of any comprehensive planning or any serious commitment to preservation, which has resulted in a traffic-choked urban horror overlaying historical remains of potentially immense interest, but the knowledgeable visitor will still be able to trace the past under the ugly urban sprawl of the present. However, in recent years, things have began to change and efforts are being made to bring out the beauty of the city's rich cultural history. The core of the city is still enclosed and defined by the Venetian wall, which includes seven outjutting bastions. In the southernmost of these, the Martinengo Bastion, is the grave of Nikos Kazantzakis, standing on a windswept hilltop with its moving inscription, "I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free."

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