A Cretan Odyssey – A deLIGHTful Evening Draws to a Close…..

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A Cretan Odyssey – A deLIGHTful Evening Draws to a Close…..
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Image by antonychammond
My eyes were drawn to a street light which looked like a giant inverted anchor!

Heraklion, or Heraclion also Iraklion (Greek: ???????? Greek pronunciation: [i?raklio]) is the largest city and the administrative capital of the island of Crete, Greece. It is one of the largest cities in Greece. Heraklion is the capital of Heraklion regional unit. The ruins of Knossos, which were excavated are located within close proximity of Heraklion.

The Arab raiders from Andalusia who founded the Emirate of Crete moved the island’s capital from Gortyna to a new castle they called rab? al-?andaq ‘Castle of the Moat’ in the 820s. This was hellenized as ?????? (Khándax) or ???????? (Khándakas) and Latinized as Candia, which was taken into other European languages: in Italian as Candia (used under the Venetian rule), in French as Candie, in English as Candy, all of which could refer to all of Crete as well as to the city itself; the Ottoman name was Kandiye.

After the Byzantine reconquest, the city was locally known as Megalo Kastro or Castro (the Big Castle in Greek) and its inhabitants were called Kastrinoi or Castrini (Castle-dwellers in Greek). The ancient name ????????? was revived in the 19th century and comes from the nearby Roman port of Heracleum ("Heracles’ city"), whose exact location is unknown. English usage formerly preferred the classicizing transliterations "Heraklion" or "Heraclion", but the form "Iraklion" is becoming more common.

Heraklion is close to the ruins of the palace of Knossos, which in Minoan times was the largest centre of population on Crete. Though there is no archaeological evidence of it, Knossos may well have had a port at the site of Heraklion as long ago as 2000 BC.

The present city of Heraklion was founded in 824 by the Saracens who had been expelled from Al-Andalus by Emir Al-Hakam I and had taken over the island from the Eastern Roman Empire. They built a moat around the city for protection, and named the city ??? ??????, rab? al-?andaq ("Castle of the Moat"). The Saracens allowed the port to be used as a safe haven for pirates who operated against Imperial shipping and raided Imperial territory around the Aegean.

In 961, Imperial forces under the command of Nikephoros Phokas, later to become Emperor, landed in Crete and attacked the city. After a prolonged siege, the city fell. The Saracen inhabitants were slaughtered, the city looted and burned to the ground. Soon rebuilt, the town of Chandax remained under Greek control for the next 243 years.

In 1204, the city was bought by the Republic of Venice as part of a complicated political deal which involved among other things, the Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade restoring the deposed Eastern Roman Emperor Isaac II Angelus to his throne. The Venetians improved on the ditch of the city by building enormous fortifications, most of which are still in place, including a giant wall, in places up to 40 m thick, with 7 bastions, and a fortress in the harbour. Chandax was renamed Candia and became the seat of the Duke of Candia, and the Venetian administrative district of Crete became known as "regno di Candia" (kingdom of Candia). The city retained the name of Candia for centuries and the same name was often used to refer to the whole island of Crete as well. To secure their rule, Venetians began in 1212 to settle families from Venice on Crete. The coexistence of two different cultures and the stimulus of Italian Renaissance led to a flourishing of letters and the arts in Candia and Crete in general, that is today known as the Cretan Renaissance.

After the Venetians came the Ottoman Empire. During the Cretan War (1645–1669), the Ottomans besieged the city for 21 years, from 1648 to 1669, perhaps the longest siege in history. In its final phase, which lasted for 22 months, 70,000 Turks, 38,000 Cretans and slaves and 29,088 of the city’s Christian defenders perished. The Ottoman army under an Albanian grand vizier, Köprülü Faz?l Ahmed Pasha conquered the city in 1669. Under the Ottomans, the city was known officially as Kandiye (again also applied to the whole island of Crete) but informally in Greek as Megalo Castro (?????? ??????; "Big Castle"). During the Ottoman period, the harbour silted up, so most shipping shifted to Chania in the west of the island.

In 1898, the autonomous Cretan State was created, under Ottoman suzerainty, with Prince George of Greece as its High Commissioner and under international supervision. During the period of direct occupation of the island by the Great Powers (1898–1908), Candia was part of the British zone. At this time, the city was renamed "Heraklion", after the Roman port of Heracleum ("Heracles’ city"), whose exact location is unknown. In 1913, with the rest of Crete, Heraklion was incorporated into the Kingdom of Greece.

For further information please visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heraklion

Crete (Greek: ?????, Kríti [‘kriti]; Ancient Greek: ?????, Kr?t?) 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.The capital and the largest city of Crete is Heraklion. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits (such as its own poetry, and music). Crete was once the center of the Minoan civilization (c. 2700–1420 BC), which is currently regarded as the earliest recorded civilization in Europe.

The island is first referred to as Kaptara in texts from the Syrian city of Mari dating from the 18th century BC, repeated later in Neo-Assyrian records and the Bible (Caphtor). It was also known in ancient Egyptian as Keftiu, strongly suggesting some form similar to both was the Minoan name for the island.

The current name of Crete is thought to be first attested in Mycenaean Greek texts written in Linear B, through the words ke-re-te (*Kr?tes; later Greek: ??????, plural of ????),[4] and ke-re-si-jo (*Kr?sijos; later Greek: ???????), "Cretan". In Ancient Greek, the name Crete (?????) first appears in Homer’s Odyssey.[8] Its etymology is unknown. One speculative proposal derives it from a hypothetical Luvian word *kursatta (cf. kursawar "island", kursattar "cutting, sliver").[9] In Latin, it became Creta.

The original Arabic name of Crete was Iqr??iš (Arabic: ??????? < (???) ??????), but after the Emirate of Crete’s establishment of its new capital at ??? ??????Rab? al-?andaq (modern Iraklion), both the city and the island became known as ?????? (Khandhax) or ???????? (Khandhakas), which gave Latin and Venetian Candia, from which French Candie and English Candy or Candia. Under Ottoman rule, in Ottoman Turkish, Crete was called Girit (????).

For more information please visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crete

A Cretan Odyssey – Taking the Bull by the Horns!
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Image by antonychammond
The Knossos bull fresco. This famous relief fresco of a charging bull, from the North Bastion at the Palace of Knossos can be found at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, a museum located in Heraklion on Crete. It is one of the greatest museums in Greece and the best in the world for Minoan art, as it contains the most notable and complete collection of artifacts of the Minoan civilization of Crete.

The highly sophisticated Minoans which were Europe’s first great civilization built the Palace of Knossos, the legendary home of King Minos which is connected with thrilling legends, such as the myth of the Labyrinth, with the Minotaur and the story of Daidalos and Ikaros. Crete is Greece’s largest island and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean.

The museum began in 1883 as a simple collection of antiquities. A dedicated building was constructed from 1904 to 1912 at the instigation of two Cretan archaeologists, Iosif Hatzidakis and Stefanos Xanthoudidis. After three destructive earthquakes in 1926, 1930, and 1935, the museum nearly collapsed. The director of the Heraklion Museum was then Spyridon Marinatos, who made great efforts to find funds and persuade the locals and the central government alike that a new solid building was needed. In 1935, Marinatos succeeded in engaging Patroklos Karantinos to build a sturdy structure that has withstood both natural disasters and the bombing that accompanied the German invasion in 1941. Although the museum was damaged during World War II, the collection survived intact and again became accessible to the public in 1952. A new wing was added in 1964.

The Herakleion Archaeological Museum is one of the largest and most important museums in Greece, and among the most important museums in Europe. It houses representative artifacts from all the periods of Cretan prehistory and history, covering a chronological span of over 5,500 years from the Neolithic period to Roman times. The singularly important Minoan collection contains unique examples of Minoan art, many of them true masterpieces. The Herakleion Museum is rightly considered as the museum of Minoan culture par excellence worldwide.

The museum, located in the town centre, was built between 1937 and 1940 by architect Patroklos Karantinos on a site previously occupied by the Roman Catholic monastery of Saint-Francis which was destroyed by earthquake in 1856. The museum’s antiseismic building is an important example of modernist architecture and was awarded a Bauhaus commendation. Karantinos applied the principles of modern architecture to the specific needs of a museum by providing good lighting from the skylights above and along the top of the walls, and facilitating the easy flow of large groups of people. He also anticipated future extensions to the museum. The colours and construction materials, such as the veined polychrome marbles, recall certain Minoan wall-paintings which imitate marble revetment. The two-storeyed building has large exhibition spaces, laboratories, a drawing room, a library, offices and a special department, the so-called Scientific Collection, where numerous finds are stored and studied.

The museum shop, run by the Archaeological Receipts Fund, sells museum copies, books, postcards and slides. There is also a cafe.

The Herakleion Archaeological Museum is a Special Regional Service of the Ministry of Culture and its purpose is to acquire, safeguard, conserve, record, study, publish, display and promote Cretan artefacts from the Prehistoric to the Late Roman periods. The museum organizes temporary exhibitions in Greece and abroad, collaborates with scientific and scholarly institutions, and houses a variety of cultural events.

For more information please visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heraklion_Archaeological_Museum

Crete (Greek: ?????, Kríti [‘kriti]; Ancient Greek: ?????, Kr?t?) 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.The capital and the largest city of Crete is Heraklion. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits (such as its own poetry, and music).

Crete was once the center of the Minoan civilization (c. 2700–1420 BC), which is currently regarded as the earliest recorded civilization in Europe. The island is first referred to as Kaptara in texts from the Syrian city of Mari dating from the 18th century BC, repeated later in Neo-Assyrian records and the Bible (Caphtor). It was also known in ancient Egyptian as Keftiu, strongly suggesting some form similar to both was the Minoan name for the island.

The current name of Crete is thought to be first attested in Mycenaean Greek texts written in Linear B, through the words ke-re-te (*Kr?tes; later Greek: ??????, plural of ????), and ke-re-si-jo (*Kr?sijos; later Greek: ??????), "Cretan". In Ancient Greek, the name Crete (?????) first appears in Homer’s Odyssey. Its etymology is unknown. One speculative proposal derives it from a hypothetical Luvian word *kursatta (cf. kursawar "island", kursattar "cutting, sliver"). In Latin, it became Creta.

The original Arabic name of Crete was Iqr??iš (Arabic: ??????? < (???) ??????), but after the Emirate of Crete’s establishment of its new capital at ??? ??????Rab? al-?andaq (modern Iraklion), both the city and the island became known as ?????? (Khandhax) or ???????? (Khandhakas), which gave Latin and Venetian Candia, from which French Candie and English Candy or Candia. Under Ottoman rule, in Ottoman Turkish, Crete was called Girit (????).

For more information please visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crete

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