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Heraklion is the largest town in Crete and the center of Minoan civilization. Due to its long history, the architecture of Heraklion has mixtures of many cultures. Not far from the heart of the city lies the Minoan Palace of Knossos, one of the most important archaeological discoveries in the world. This great structure that consists of a huge building complex is one of the finest examples of Minoan architecture offering a plethora of architectural marvels and interesting facts from the Minoan times. A similar building complex is found in the site of Phaestos in southern Crete, less complicated and smaller.
Heraklion was one of the regions that attracted the Venetians and the Byzantines who left a fair number of forts, castles and beautiful monuments that survive to this day. Among them is the Venetian fortress welcoming the visitors at the port as well as many splendid mansions lining the streets of the town. There you will find many fountains from the Venetian times like the fountain Kromozini, standing in the middle of Venizelou square, or the fountain Priouli. Right opposite is the Church of Saint Markus built by the Venetians in 1239. Numerous neoclassical buildings offering elegance in the town of Heraklion.
The presence of the Venetians sealed the coexistence of the local Cretan architecture with the strong cultural elements brought from their country. A fine example of Venetian architecture is the Venetian Fortress at the entrance of the port and the Venetian Loggia, where the Town Hall is housed today. Visitors have the chance to admire many Byzantine churches and monasteries, symbols of monumental architecture in the town and the surrounding villages.
Visitors will find many hotels that have been created with respect to the traditional architecture.