- Category: ROUTE 11
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits (such as its own dialect, poetry, and music). Crete was the centre of the Minoan civilization (c. 2700–1420 BC)
It is separated in 4 prefectures: Chania, Heraklion, Lassithi and Rethymno. The island has everything to offer: mountainous landscapes, a coast with many beautiful beaches and rocky coves, beautiful towns and charming villages and harbors, excellent food, ruins like Knossos, of the Minoan Civilization, one of the greatest civilization ever, an exciting nightlife. The island is first referred to as Kaptara in texts from the Syrian city of Mari dating from the 18th century B.C., repeated later in Neo-Assyrian records and the Bible (Caphtor). It is also known in ancient Egyptian as Keftiu, strongly suggesting some form similar to both was the Minoan name for the island.
The Mycenaean Greek name for Crete is unknown. The name Crete first appears in Homer's Odyssey. Its etymology is unknown. One speculative proposal derives it from a hypothesized Luvian word *kursatta 'island'. In Latin, it became Creta. The original Arabic name of Crete was Iqrīṭiš, but after the Emirate of Crete's establishment of its new capital at Rabḍ al-ḫandaq (modern Iraklion), both the city and the island became known as Khandhax or Khandhakas, which became Latin and Venetian Candia, thence French Candie and English Candy or Candia. Under Ottoman rule, in Ottoman Turkish, Crete was called Girit (as recorded by Piri Reis).
CHANIA: The region of Chania, situated in western Crete, occupies a very important place in the history of Crete. Historians say that Chania was the exact location for the ancient Minoan establishment of Kydonia, a flourishing town.
After the disappearance of the Minoan civilization, the area declined and flourished again in the 14th century, when it was conquered by the Venetians. The Venetians have left their vivid mark in the region, mostly in Chania town. Most of the elegant mansions that can be found in the Old Town of Chania date from that era, while the Venetian lighthouse in the Old Port has become over the years the trademark of the town. Those times, the region flourished out of trade and arts were developed.
The Venetian period of Chania ended in 1645, when it was conquered by the Ottomans. Remains of the Ottoman period still survive in Chania Town, such as the Ottoman Baths and some mosques, with the mosque of Kioutsouk Hanan being the most notable.
Apart from Chania Town, the entire region is also breathtaking. The sandy beaches, the mountains villages, the seaside hamlets, the pure nature, the Byzantine monasteries spread along the inland, all create a fantastic background to explore.
HERAKLION: The prefecture of Heraklion Greece is one of the four prefectures which form the Greek island of Crete. Its capital is the town of Heraklion, which is also the capital of the island. It is the economical center of the island. Located between the prefecture of Rethymno and the one of Lassithi, it is full of wonderful beaches, interesting archaeological sites, amazing landscapes, picturesque villages and impressive gorges. Heraklion is the biggest town of Crete. It distinguishes for its impressive Castle, the Venetian port and the fish taverns along the waterfront. Apart from the town, the entire region is also beautiful and unexplored. The prefecture of Heraklion is green and very interesting. Pure nature gives way to mountainous villages and sandy beaches are followed by impressive gorges. Driving around the prefecture is an excellent experience to get to know the Cretan landscape.
The history of Heraklion started in the Minoan times, as is shown by the close ancient town of Knossos, the most developed of all Minoan towns in Crete. After the Minoan times, Heraklion flourished again as an important port of the Byzantine Empire. After the fall of Crete to the Venetians, the town developed economically because of trade. Attention was paid to the education and many impressive buildings, like the Loggia, were constructed to house public works. This is also when Koules Fortress around the port of Heraklion was built, to protect the island from pirates and from the Turkish fleet. In the 16th century, Heraklion was conquered by the Turks who kept the entire island under their occupation till the early 20th century. In fact, the town has vivid the signs of the Venetian and the Turkish occupation in its architecture structures.
LASSITHI: Lassithi Crete is less of a tourist hub and mostly known for its beautiful natural surroundings. This is the easternmost region of Crete and its most tourist developed villages are Agios Nikolaos, which is also the capital of the prefecture, Elounda, Sitia and Ierapetra. In the centre of the prefecture, there lies the Plateau of Lassithi, a beautiful natural area with windmills, mountainous villages, impressive gorges, caves such as Milatos or Trapeza, and a lot of greenery. In fact, this Plateau is one of the most fertile regions of Greece.
The history of Lassithi started in the Minoan times and many ancient sites can be found all over it, such as the ancient towns of Pressos, Lato, Gournia and Vasiliki. These towns flourished in the 14th century BC but they declined after the destruction of the Minoan civilization. The next great development of Lassithi came in the 13th century AD when the Venetians conquered the island. They built Castles, like the Castle of Spinalonga, the windmills of the Plateau and made agriculture and trade the main occupation of the inhabitants. Then The Ottomans occupied Lassithi. In the early 20th century, Lassithi and the whole island of Crete became part of Greece.
Its capital is the lovely coastal town of Agios Nikolaos which has a picturesque port where little fishing boats are mooring. It also has lovely touristy resorts with all the modern facilities, picturesque mountainous villages where the traditional Cretan way of life can still be seen, a verdant plateau (the Lassithi Plateau) full of old windmills and superb beaches.
RETHYMO: Rethymno is located in central Crete and lies between the towns of Chania and Heraklion. It is considered as the third largest town in Crete and portrays itself as a quaint region with delightful medieval architecture. The harbour front is the busiest neighborhood of the town. Rethymno has been developed a lot over the years by the tourism industry to provide travelers and guests with various important amenities.
Historically, the earliest settlers of the region belonged to the Minoan period. The region enjoyed a sovereign status to such an extent that it had its own coinage. However, its lack of mention during the Roman and Byzantine period shows that it had lost its importance to the then rulers. But with the advent of the Venetian and later the Turkish rule, the region slowly started to regain its original prominence. Culture developed a lot in the Venetian times and the town was built with impressive public buildings and private mansions that survive till today. Trade brought economic power to the inhabitants and the harbor of Rethymno was enlarged to welcome ships from all Mediterranean. Ottomans occupied the island in the 16th century. Although the Cretans made several attempts to set themselves free, this was accomplished only in the early 20th century.
Today what has remained from these two occupations is the influence in the architecture of the town. In every part of the Old Town of Rethymnon, you will see Venetian and Ottoman structures, such as mosques, public baths, catholic churches and fountains.
Apart from the town, the region of Rethymnon is also wonderful. There you will meet the typical Cretan landscape, sometimes wild and other times fertile, with many mountainous villages, lakes, gorges and Byzantine monasteries around. The beaches of Rethymnon, golden sandy and crystal, also dot the landscape and attract thousands of visitors every summer. Most popular beaches are Platanias and Panormos. ir yandan özgün bir kültür geliştirirken, bir yandan da Osmanlı Devleti'ne ve Anadolu'ya geri göçten sonra da Türkiye Cumhuriyeti'ne yönetim, edebiyat, bilim, eğitim alanlarında önemli katkılarda bulundular.
- Category: ROUTE 11
Astypalea is the bridge that connects the Cyclades to the Dodecanese. Due to the abundance of fragrant flowers and fruit, the Ancient Greeks called this island the "Paradise of the Gods". In Greek mythology, Astypalea was a woman abducted by Poseidon in the form of a winged fish-tailed leopard. Today, the island is famous for exceptional honey and high quality fish. The island was developed in Hellenistic times due to the fishing activity of its inhabitants. In Roman times, the island was used by the pirates as a regular base of operations. Afterwards, the island was conquered by many different races, such as the Venetians, the Turks, and the Italians, until finally united with the Greek State in 1948.
The island of Astypalea has four miniscule but picturesque villages: Chora, Analipsi (or Maltezana), Vathi and Livadia. The most unique aspect of Astypalea are the numerous churches that are spread all over the island. The most famous is the church of Panagia Portaitissa, painted all white, with a beautiful wooden iconostasis and a large bell tower. Life on Astypalea is rather quiet and peaceful. There is certainly some nightlife in Chora, but you will mostly find seaside coffee shops and traditional taverns.
The beaches of Astypalea are small and sandy. Some are a bit challenging to get to but offer an unmatched level of peace and privacy. After all, the whole island radiates a vibe of peace and tranquility. One of the best beaches is found at Sterno, a thin strip of land that divides the island in two. A few more sumptuous beaches can be found at Agios Konstantinos, Livadi, Schinontas, Maltezana, Marmaria and Plakes.
Chora, which also happens to be the main harbor, is one of the most picturesque villages in the Aegean Sea; defined by a multitude of capes, thickets and tranquil sandy bays. A Venetian Castle stands proudly on the hill above the town. Other inhabited settlements that exist today are Livadi, Analypsi, and Maltezana; but for the most part, island life is concentrated in Chora.
- Category: ROUTE 11
It is a narrow and long island whose northern and southern parts are divided by mountainous spine rising over an altitude of 1200 meters. Despite its wild beauty, its traditional and unspoiled character and its magnificent secluded beaches, Karpathos has not yet been invaded by mass tourism and appears like a true paradise. The south of the island is where the capital is lying (Pigadia) and is the most modern part of it; this is due to the fact that, after World War II, many locals left because of the ravaged economy and moved mainly to the U.S. When their children returned to their native island, they invested a lot in the southern part, where they settled. The northern part has been left as it was and is where visitors will find the most traditional and unspoiled villages, which constitute a great part of the beauty and attractiveness of Karpathos.
The island was both in ancient and medieval times closely connected with Rhodes. Its current name is mentioned, with a slight shift of one letter, in Homer's Iliad as Karpathos. Besides, the island is mentioned by Virgil, Pliny the Elder and Strabo. Karpathians fought with Sparta in the Peloponnesian War in 431 BC and lost their independence to Rhodes in 400 BC. In 42 BC the island fell to Rome. After the division of the Roman Empire the island joined the Byzantine Empire. By 1304 Karpathos was given as fief by the Emperor to the Genoese corsairs Andrea and Lodovico Moresco, but in 1306 it fell under Andrea Cornaro, a member of the noble Venetian Cornaro family. The Cornaro controlled Karpathos until 1538, when it finally passed into the possession of the Ottoman Turks.
- Category: ROUTE 11
Anafi is a small island, located to the east of Santorini. Largely triangular in shape, the rugged terrain is mostly rocky. The island, because of its size and location, hasn't been developed as a tourist destination, so it is the perfect place for those seeking peace and quiet. According to Greek mythology, Anafi rose from the sea to provide shelter for the Argonauts from the wild sea. Anafi consists of a semi-mountainous structure with Vigla, Kalamos and Agios Ioannis Theologos being the highest peaks.
Anafi is also blessed by a number of lovely beaches, some carpeted with fine soft sand, some pebbled. The port of Agios Nikolaos, where we drop anchor, is the busiest part of Anafi. It provides the basic facilities a tourist would need, such as tavernas and rooms to rent. From there, you can take a small boat around the island and visit secluded beaches. Otherwise, the island can be crossed on foot or via mule. There is one local bus available but the itineraries are rather limited. The village of Chora, capital of Anafi, is built on a natural amphitheatrical site in the center of the island. It is located 2 km from the port.
Chora is characterized by a number of small churches, its white houses and paved roads. The 18th century Monastery of Panagia Kalamiotissa is an important religious center for the island. Anafi is a great for sightseeing and getting a taste of unspoiled Greek culture.
- Category: ROUTE 11
Kasos lays SW of Karpathos, between this island and Crete. Adjacent to the island is the Strait of Kasos, through which some of the Modified Atlantic Water enters the Sea of Crete. Its shape is elliptic and resembles that of Rhodes. The Municipality of Kasos includes several uninhabited offshore islands, the largest of which are Armathia and Makronisi. Kasos is notable for its lack of large scale tourism, the quality of its fish, cheeses, and other culinary specialties, and its hospitality toward visitors.
In ancient times, Kasos (then known as Amphie, Astrabe, and, most commonly, Achnis) was used as a safe harbor by the Philistines. The first known settlements are Minoan and Mycenaean in origin. According to Homer, Kasos contributed ships toward the Trojan War. It has a very rich and proud history of seamanship and has been an important resource for merchant shipping and pirating. It is still regarded as an island where ship owners can locate a sea savvy crew.
During classical antiquity it closely followed the history of Karpathos. In the middle ages, as Karpathos, it was subjected from 1306 until 1537 to the Venetian Cornaro family, after which Kasos was conquered by the Ottoman Turks.
In 1824, during the Greek War of Independence, Mehmet Ali, the Pasha of Egypt, furious with the Kasiots, dispatched his naval fleet to the island. Kasos had been the first island to declare independence during the Greek Revolution and supported the cause with its fleet of ships. The Egyptian armada burned the entire island and killed most of the population. Given the scale of destruction and the fact that the whole of the island was burned, this tragedy is notable for being the first holocaust of the modern era.
The island's population recovered as did its economy, still largely based on shipping. The introduction of steam ships made Kasos' shipyard (which produced wooden sailing ships) redundant and its economy suffered accordingly. Beginning in the later half of the 19th century, many emigrated from Kasos, initially to Egypt (about 5,000 people), then to Istanbul