Behind Crete’s Great Past
Did you know that at Crete apart from the famous Minoan palaces at Knossos, Phaestos, Malia and Zakros, there are also other unique landmarks and monuments of the past?
In fact, you should not miss the Venetian fortress of Fortezza in Rethimno, ancient Falasarna and its port, the ancient city of Lissos in the southwest, Kazarma fortress in Sitia, the Minoan city of Kommos, a port at Phaestos, Zominthos, another Minoan city on the uplands and the ancient ruins of Gortyn, Crete’s capital during the Roman era.
Furthermore, history through ages has offered Crete ancient spots of impeccable beauty. So, if you enjoy adventure, we would highly recommend snorkeling around and above the ancient city of Olous. Olous is the earliest recorded settlement on top of which Elounda is built today. Now submerged in the sea, it was among the five most prominent cities of Minoan Crete. In addition to this, it had 30,000 residents and was even mentioned by Homer in the Iliad. Olous’ ruins are next to the beach at a depth of just a few meters. To get there, head to Elounda, next to the old windmills.
Finally, don’t forget that across the water from Domes of Elounda, the eerie and scenic islet of Spinalonga is filled with stories from the past, with Victoria Hislop’s famous novel “The Island” – which was adapted into a popular TV series – taking place here. In 1579, the Venetians built a fortress on the ruins of a pre-existing ancient fortress, which remained under Venetian rule even after the 1669 Ottoman occupation of Crete. Moreover, during the Cretan War (1645-1669), Spinalonga served as a base for refugees and rebels, consequently falling to the Turks in 1715.
From Ancient Greeks to Arab pirates, Ottomans to lepers and beyond, Spinalonga islet has a rich, profound history.