Island’s History

CRETE IS THE PLACE WHERE MYTHS LOOK LIKE HISTORY AND HISTORY IS LIKE A MYTH. FROM THE DISTANT PAST TO THE PRESENT DAY, EVERY PLACE ON THE ISLAND HAS A SHORT OR LONG STORY TO TELL.

 

3000 - 1200 BC

Minoan, the First European Civilization

Crete is the birthplace of the first European civilization, the Minoan, which flourished between 3000 BC and 1200 BC mainly in Central and Eastern Crete. Even today, the majestic palaces of Knossos, Phaestus, Malia, Zakros, Tylissos, Arhanes, Monastiraki, Galatas, Kydonia and the luxurious mansions at Agia Triada, Zominthos, Amnisos, Makrigialos, Vathipetro and Nerokouros reflect the…

1200 - 800 BC

The Dark Age

The imposing Minoan palaces and the rest of the constructions developed between 2000 BC and 1400 BC. Around 1700 BC, the Minoan cities were levelled by an unverified factor, probably the eruption of Santorini volcano. The palaces were rebuilt, but the destruction of the large Minoan centers by the Mycenaeans around 1400 BC was the…

800 BC - 69 AD

Classical & Greco-Roman Crete

During the Dark Age, living in such remote and inhospitable areas was so arduous, that a few centuries later those settlements declined and disappeared. During the same period, the Achaeans and Dorians broke the ground for the flowering of Classical Hellenism. They introduced new customs, such as the use of iron, cremation and new clothing…

63 - 65 AD

The Advent of Christianity

During his journey to Rome, Paul the Apostle stopped in Crete and preached Christianity, lighting the flame of a centuries-old ascetic tradition, signs of which we meet even today in hermitages and monastic establishments of Asterousia range. Areas that, according to tradition, were visited by Saint Paul and Saint John Xenos, turned to live ascetic…

1204 – 1669

Heading to the Venetian Era

The prosperity of Christian Crete under the protection of the Byzantine Empire was fiercely interrupted by the Arabs in 824 AD. The new occupiers of the island converted Candia, today’s Heraklion, to a base for their pirate raids in the Mediterranean Sea. After several failed attempts, the Byzantines eventually managed to liberate Crete in 961…

1669 – 1898

The Ottoman Era

In the 17th century, after the Ottomans stabilized the possession of Constantinople, they targeted new conquests. Crete soon came to the center of their expansionist policies, because of its strategic position in the Mediterranean. After fierce battles, the Ottomans managed to occupy the cities of Chania in 1645 and Rethymnon in 1646. However, the last…

- TODAY

Modern History

On December 1st, 1913, Crete officially united with Greece, fulfilling the century-long dream of Cretans. The political personality of Eleftherios Venizelos from Chania, who was later to become the Prime Minister of Greece, came to the fore. However, the struggles of Cretans did not end then, since the Cretans had to fight in the Battle…