Heraklion (Greek: Ηράκλειον, Irákleio) or Iraklio is the major city and capital of Crete, the largest of the Greek islands. Its Archaeological Museum holds the remains of the 4000-year-old Minoan civilization, which centred around the nearby palace of Knossos, with its Minotaur legend. The city has several Venetian and Byzantine churches and the biggest in East Mediterranean well-preserved Venetian wall and harbour fortress from the 15th century.
Around 1880 the Greek Kalokairinos and later in 1900, the British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans began excavating a site just south of the city, thinking to find remains of ancient culture maybe Mycenean. He quickly discovered a much older, more powerful civilisation, which he called “Minoan” after the Minotaur legend. 4000 to 3000 years ago, Crete dominated the east Mediterranean from this site, Knossos. These discoveries changed our ideas of the ancient world – and Crete's modern fame and tourist industry were born.
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