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General Information on Museums, Archaeological sights, Venetian Buildings, Churches, Monasteries, Places

The Archaeological Museum of Chania is housed in the Venetian church of San Francesco. Its exhibits from western Crete and other areas date from the Neolithic to the Roman era, and include idols, statues, inscriptions, weapons, pottery, seal stones, coins, jewellery.
The Historical Archives of Crete include a rich collection of folklore and material related to the history of the island. The archives are among the largest in the country, second only to General Archives of the Greek State. Open daily 8:00-13:00, except weekends and public holidays.
The Naval Museum of Chania is located on the mole of the Venetian harbor. Includes exhibits linked with the island's history. The museum is open 10:00-14:00, every day except Monday. From October to end of May, is open also 16:00-18:00, on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays and 17:00-19:00 during the other months.
The Archaeological Museum of Rethymnon is housed in the Venetian Loggia. Among the exhibits of the museum. There are interesting archaeological finds from the region, as well as a fine coin collection.
The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion is one of the most important museums in Greece. Here are assembled almost all the finds from the Minoan era. Pottery, stone carvings, sealstones, statuettes, gold, metalwork, the marvelous frescoes from the Royal and Little Palaces and villas of the wealthy, and finally, the unique painted limestone sarcophagus from the Agia Trias.
The Historical Museum of Heraklion houses exhibits from the Byzantine, Venetian and Turkish periods and historical documents of the more recent Cretan history are shown. Except these, a rich collection of folk art consisting of local costumes, textiles, wood carving and embroidery are exhibited here, as well as a representation of a tradition Cretan house.
The Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos contains a rich collection of finds from excavations in eastern Crete

Knossos, the capital of the Minoan culture, was built 5 km east of Heraklion and inhabited since the Neolithic era. The first palace of Knossos was built around 1900 B.C. Two hundred years later it was destroyed by an earthquake and rebuilt, becoming grander and more luxurious. The final catastrophe occurred about 1500-1400 BC, according to one theory, with the eruption of the volcano in Santorini. Despite this blow, people continued to live there for another fifty years, until a fire swept through the city circa 1400 BC The Minoan palaces were not only the residence of the ruling house, they were also administrative and religious centers for the whole region. The ruins of the capital of the Minoan Kingdom include the palace of King Minos, the homes of the officials and priests who surrounded him Little Palace, Caravanserai, House of the Frescoes, etc., the homes of ordinary people and the cemetery. The palace was a labyrinthine complex built around a central court. This multistoried construction covered an area of 22.000 sq. m. and, in addition to the royal quarters, also contained places of worship, treasuries, workshops and storerooms
Located 7.5 km east of the city of Heraklion, Amnissos was the port of Knossos. It was here that the archaeologists found the Villa of the Frescoes of Amnissos, also called the Villa of the Lilies.
The village of Archanes is located 15 km. south of Heraklion. Excavations in the village brought to light a well-preserved building that must have been a summer palace. On the hill of Fourni 1 km NW of Archanes there are vaulted tombs dated to between 2500-1250 BC At Anemospilia Archanes, in the foothills of the Holy Mountain of Yiouchta was discovered a Minoan sanctuary sacred not only to Archanes but Knossos as well.
Gortys, that was one of the most important cities of Crete, lay 46km south of Heraklion. The history of the city has its origins in the Minoan era, as testified by the ruins of the 16th century BC farmhouse, which has been excavated, but the city flourished particularly during the Roman era. Gortys was the capital of the Roman province of Crete and Cyrenaica. The most distinctive monuments are the Praetorium 2nd century A.D., residence of the Roman governor of the province and the Nymphaion 2nd century AD, where the Nymphs were worshipped; the temple of Pythian Apollo; the sanctuary of the Egyptian divinities; and the Odeon, where the famous inscription with the laws of Gortyn was found. Plato spoke of these laws, which were written in a Doric dialect and date from the 6th century BC, with admiration.
The archaeological place of Malia is located 34 km. east of Heraklion and 3 km. beyond the summer resort of the same name. Excavations have brought to light a palace similar to the ones at Knossos and Festos also built around 1900 BC and abandoned about 1450 BC. At Chrissolakos Pit of Gold, archaeologists also unearthed the districts surrounding the Minoan palace and cemetery. The palace covered an area of about 9.000 sq. m. Many of the objects now on display in Heraklion's Archaeological Museum were found at Malia.
63 km southwest of Heraklion and about 78 km southeast of Rethimnon, was the second most important palace-city of Minoan Crete. The residence of the mythical Radamanthes, the palace was also the nucleus of a settlement inhabited to that of Knossos. Here too the rooms are arranged around a court. On the other hand, it contrast to Knossos, the frescoes decorating the walls being covered with a lining of pure white gypsum. The area of this palace was 9.000 sq. m.
Aptera, one of the most important cities of ancient western Crete, was built during the 7th century BC Located on a site 15km from Chania, south of Souda Bay and near the village of Megala Chorafia, has a panoramic view of the whole plain of Chania. The city walls, still standing, are reminiscent of the Cyclopean walls of Tiryns and Mycenae. One can also see the remains of a small temple of Demeter built at the 1st century BC, a Roman theater, and the enormous vaulted cisterns of the Roman period-excellent condition.
The ruined walls and the acropolis of ancient Polirinia lie in a naturally fortified position, 49 km west of Chania, and 7km south of Kissamos. Polirinia, an important ancient city of western Crete, was founded with the help of the Achaeans, who succeeded the Minoans as overlords of the island. The earliest findings date from the 6th century BC
Gournia, is one of the most noteworthy archaeological sites in Crete and the best preserved of the Minoan settlements. It is located 19 km. southeast of Agios Nicholaos and 15 km. north of Ierapetra and appears to date from 1550- 1450 BC The ruins of the town include small houses and a small palace on top of a hill; even the narrow streets and connecting stairways have survived amidst the foundations of the houses.
117 km southeast of Agios Nicholaos is the site of a luxurious Minoan palace, the fourth in significance on the island, which produced a number of important finds, now in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. This palace which covered 7.000 to 8.000 sq. m. and contained royal apartments, storerooms and various workshops, and nearby city were destroyed around 1450 BC by a violent earthquake, most probably the one that caused a whole section of the island of Santorini to sink into the sea. Zakros was a major Minoan naval base, which established trading connections with Egypt and other countries of West Asia. It was from here that Minoan farming estates, two sacred peaks, a cemetery and cave tombs have been discovered.
15 km. west of Agios Nicholaos, is spread out on the slopes of two acropolises. Founded in the 7th century BC, it was one of the most powerful cities in Crete in its heyday. The ruins include the city walls houses and shops from different periods built on terraces.

Of the old venetian city of Chania, one whole neighborhood remains, while of the fortifications early 13th century, the bastions, moat and ruins of the walls surrounding the city have survived and well preserved. Plenty of monuments from that era, are still in existence in the city. Among them are the Loggia once, a gentlemen's social club, the Hiones Neoreia dating since 16th century, the breakwater of the venetian harbor and the churches of San Francesco now houses the Archaeological Museum, San Rococo and of the Savior Sotiros.
The Villa Rotonda, most probably the country estate of some venetian feudal lord, dates since the 16th or 17th century and it is located southwest of Kissamos 43 km. west of the city, and near the village of Kalathenes. At Agia Gramvoussa, a remote islet in the northwest of the district, are the remains of a venetian fort. Getting to the islet is difficult, and can only be done by caique from Kissamos, weather permitting, departing early in the morning during the summer. At Paleochora, washed by the waves of the Libyan Sea, 73 km. south of Chania, the ruins of the Castel Selino rise out of the shore. This fortress was built in 1279 by Duke Marino Gradenigo, governor of Crete. Frangokastello about 11 km. east of Chora Sfakion Sfakia, is the site of the old Castel Franco Franchise Castle, built by the Venetians in 1371 as a defense against pirates and Cretan rebels.
The Great Gate, one of the old city gates left over from the venetian fortifications of 1450-1570. The Loggia, mid-16th century, was a social club where the lords and noblemen used to meet and relax. It is now the Archaeological Museum. The Fortezza, north of the city, on Paleokastro Hill. Built in 1574, it offers a marvelous view of the city and the sea. The facades of Venetian houses, most of which are found in the old city. The churches of San Francesco and Our Lady of the Angels, known as the church of the Little Virgin Mikri Panayia. The Rimondi Fountain, north of Petihaki Square, a 17th century work.
he old fortifications at Chandax the old name of Heraklion, reinforced for the Venetians in 1462, are still in good condition today. Of the fortress's seven bastions, the one called Martinengo - where the simple tomb of the famous cretan writer N. Kazantzakis is located - has survived and offers a view over the entire city. Two of the four entrance gates to the city, the Chania Gate and New Gate, still stand on the south side. Koules is the name of the imposing fortress at the entrance to the venetian harbor. It was constructed between 1523 and 1540. The Bentenaki, the breakwater running from the venetian harbor to the bay of Dermata or Koum-Kappi. The vaulted arsenals, the shipyards where the venetian galleons were built. The Morosini 1628, Delimarco 1666 and Bembo 1588 fountains on the north side of Kornaros Square. The Palazzo Ducale, the residence of the Duke of Crete and the Loggia reconstructed, the nobles social club. The basilica of San Marco 13th century, today an exhibition hall, and the Orthodox church of St. Titus 1446.
At Spinalonga rock-isle, at the entrance to Elounda Bay 12 km. from Agios Nicholaos, the site of the ruins of a fortified castle built by the Venetians in 1526 to present enemy ships from entering the harbor. In the city of Sitia 70 km. east of Heraklion, the scant remains of a fortress, built during the Byzantine era stand of the western limits on the city. On the far western side of the town of Ierapetra 36 km. Southeast of Agios Nicholaos, near the sea, lie the ruins of a fortress erected in the early years of venetian rule and radically rebuilt in 1626 by Francesco Morosini the elder when he was governor of Crete

Capital of Crete during the Roman and Early Byzantine period, Gortys became the first Christian community in Greece in the year 65 AD, after St. Paul appointed Titus as bishop, with a mission to convert the whole of Crete. In the 16th century the Cretan School of painting, closely allied with the Byzantine tradition, produced numerous painters of icons, both famous and unknown. Crete is scattered with the ruins of countless frescoed churches dating from 961, when the Byzantine recaptured Crete from the Saracens, to 1204, when the island fell into the hands of the Venetians.
The chapel of Agion Anargiron with old Byzantine frescoes. The Russo-Byzantine church of Agia Magdalini in the Halepa quarter.
At Akrotiri northeast of the city 16.5 km., the Monastery of Agia Triada, with a fine gate and church, built in 1632.
Near Agia Triada, the Monastery of Gouverneto, founded in 1548, has a Renaissance style church whose impressive facade is decorated with Venetian sculptures.
The Gonia Monastery or Monastery of Hodigitria, near the village of Kolimpari 24 km. west of Chania, has a lovely view and dates since1662.
At Kato Episkopi, a village about 10 km. south of Kolimbari, the Rotonda of the Archangel Michael with interesting mosaic floors and important frescoes by Byzantine artists of the 12th century
. At the village of Alikianos 13 km. southwest of Chania, the Byzantine church of St. George with frescoes dated 1430.
At the village of Sougia on the south coast of the District, there are some exquisite mosaics from an early Christian 6th century basilica preserved in the village's modern church.
The Monastery of Arkadi Moni Arkadi 23 km. southeast of Rethimnon, built in the 16th century in a wonderful natural setting. It is linked with memorable events in the island's struggle against Turkish oppression. There is a tourist pavilion outside the monastery.
The Monastery of Preveli 36 km. south of Rethimnon. A historic monastery well worth visiting with a small museum and beautiful view of the Libyan Sea.

The Cathedral of St. Minas and the smaller church of Agios Minas beside it.
The church of St. Catherine, containing icons by Michael Damaskinos, the most important representative of the Cretan School.
At Skotini about 1 km. northwest of Fodele the little church of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary Issodia tis Theotokou built on the site of an older church of the 11th or 12th century.
About 56 km. southwest of Heraklion the Monastery of Vrondissi with a fountain carved in the relief 15th century at the entrance to the garden and a panoramic view.
Further southwest, near the village of Vorizia 52 km. from Heraklion, the abandoned Monastery of Varsamoneri. Here one can see the church of Agios Phanourios whose 15th century frescoes are of great artistic and scientific value, a unique monument of the Cretan School.
Some 9 km. from Agios Nikolaos before the village of Kritsa, the church of Our Lady of Kera, filled with frescoes from the 14th or 15th century and judge to be the finest in Crete.
East of Sitia 18 km. , the Monastery of Toplou or the Panayia.
The Akrotiriani Monastery, dating from the 1th century. The monastery contains an inscription from the 2nd century BC and a famous 18th century icon by Ioannis Kornaros.
South of Sitia 41 km., the Monastery of Kapsa.

Samaria Gorge in Crete, situated 43 km from the city of Chania, this is the longest gorge in Europe, measuring some 18 kilometers and well-known for its awesome beauty. At some points the passage is just 3 meters wide and at times the steep sides rise to a height of 600 meters. The gorge is cut by a stream which flows between the highest peak of the White Mountains and the mountain of Volikas. Hiking down the gorge is permitted from May to the end of October, depending on the weather. At the entrance to the gorge, at Xiloskalo there is a tourist pavilion with a view of majestic mountain of Gigolos alt. 2,083 m.. On leaving the gorge, one encounters the village of Agia Roumeli, where one can take a launch to Chora Sfakion and catch a bus back to Chania. The road from Chania to the entrance of the gorge traverses picturesque lowland and mountain villages. At the village of Omalos and the Omalos mountain range one will find rooms for rent and a number of taverns.
Therissos Gorge. An impressive gorge, 6 km. long, running between Chania and the village of Therissos at the foothills of the White Mountains, 16 km. south of Chania. It is one of the few gorges you can travel with car. From the village of Therissos Eleytherios Venizelos and the Cretans started the War of freedom against the Turks in 1908.
General info provided by the University of Crete

Chania information
Rethymno information
Heraklion information
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