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Prefecture of Heraklion

Heraklion is Crete’s largest county here you can find most of the islands most well known attractions. A fertile and varied landscape. Olive trees and grapevines lay like patchwork over the hilly terrain, the high and impressive Dikti Mountains, the well known Mesara valley which is the islands largest, it was here Zeus took the beautiful princess Europa after kidnapping her from the palace of King Foinikas. Zeus and Europe were the parents to Minos.

Up in the mountains you can find idyllic villages, Anogia, Kamares and the nearby Kamares grotto which was a sacred place during the Minion dynasty. At the foot of the holy Gioukthas Mountain you will find the town of Arkhanes which is a well known agriculture centre.

Just outside the city of Heraklion lay the ruins of Knossos, one of the most famous and important sites to be unearthed, it was the largest and most impressive palace from that era (built 2000 bc) parts of which are being carefully restored to its original splendour. To the south of the county lays the palace of Phaistos were the famous disc of Phaistos (a symbolic dish) which today can be seen in the museum of Iraklion. Nearby are the ruins of the ancient town of Gortys.

Visit the beautiful Matala with its famous caves in which monks resided in ancient times and later it was a popular place for hippies to hang about in. Today Matala is a tourist pearl along with the villages of Agia Pelagia, Fodele, Hersonissos and Malia which are on the north coast. Just of the coast near Iraklion lies the small island of Dia which is a reservation for wild goats called Kri-kri.

The county of Heraklion is well known for its wines and most of the largest winemakers are to be found here. Agriculture is also very important to the district olives, oranges, apples and potatoes are amongst other crops grown here.

Heraklion is the capital of Crete and the islands largest city, most of the islands industry is situated in the area. The town is surrounded by the ancient walls were access is only allowed in by certain gates. In the city centre you will find the Morozini fountain surrounded by cafes, restaurants, tavernas and shipping companies. Near the church of Agios Markus you will find the popular shopping streets and museums. Heraklion has very good boat and plane connections to the mainland and the other islands.

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