Heraklion (GR: Ηράκλειον - also transliterated as Heraklion or Herakleion) is the largest urban centre in Crete, the capital of the region and the economic centre of the island. The first European civilisation, the Minoan civilisation, flourished on this land 5000 years ago. Currently the population of the municipality of Heraklion is approximately 150.000 people. It is a very dynamic and cosmopolitan town, particularly during the summer period when thousands of visitors can be seen shopping in the market or visiting the museums and other places of interest. During the last 20 years the city has made also a remarkable progress in the academic and technological fields.
The Venetian Koules of Heraklion
The Venetian fortress Koules dominates the entrance to the Venetian harbor of Heraklion. The Venetians called it "Fortress at Sea" (Castello a Mare or Rocca a Mare), but today it retains its Turkish name, Koules from Su Kulesi. It is one of the most familiar and beloved monuments, symbol of Heraklion.In these days Koules fortress gazes of the Cretan Sea reminding us of the greatness of the Venetian Candia, is haunted by legends wanting to its damp and dark rooms were horribly tortured Cretan rebels. Today Koules occasionally used for art exhibitions in interiors of the ground floor and theatrical or musical performances upstairs, when the weather permits.
Grave of Nikos Kazantzakis
The tomb of this great Cretan writer located at the highest point of Heraklion, on the Venetian walls in Martinengo bastion, overlooking the entire city of Heraklion. The tomb is at that point after the same desire as the Church had excommunicated after writing his last project, which was considered anti-Christian. The tomb is simple, with a large wooden cross and a sign he had requested to write: "I hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I am free." Visiting the grave can be combined with a short walk over the Venetian walls overlooking the city of Heraklion.
Agios Titus, or more correctly, the church of Saint Titus in Heraklion is one of the most important monuments in the city center, on the street August 25. Around it lies a beautiful square with a few cafes and bars, the square Saint Titus. In 961 Nicephorus Phocas drove the Arabs from Crete making it again part of the mighty Byzantine Empire. Then it must built the first Orthodox church of St.. Titus, to rekindle Christian faith and tradition in Crete, which had fallen into recession due to the conquest of the Arab pirates.