The history of Crete is long and eventful due to its strategic geographical location, and except of being the crossroad of the continents it was from the beginning of its history an apple of discord for any conqueror.
The ancestors of Cretans were the Minoans, but the island was populated by Achaeans, Dorians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Venetians and Turks. Also for a long time pirates of the Mediterranean Sea plundered the coasts of Crete. Witnesses of Crete’s unending adventures are the city walls you will meet in all modern towns, as well as the fortresses, constructed on the capes and surrounding islands, which were used as observation towers.
The Cretan landscape has gained nature’s finest gifts. The landscape variations are impressive. The endemic flora adds its own colours and scents, and gives shelter to a rare fauna. Crete combines the inhospitable and bare mountainous landscape with the fertile green flatland, the blonde-coloured sand, the deep blue sea and shapes with the blue sunny sky to a unique harmony. The island is shaped by a high line of mountains crossing it from the west to the east, this line is constituted by three mountain ranges Lefka Ori (2,452 m), Mount Ida (2,456) and Mount Dikti (2,148). These mountains offer Crete fertile plateaus (such as Lasithi Plateau, Omalos Plateau and Nida Plateau), caves (such as Dictaeon Andron and Idaion Andron) and gorges (such as the famous Samaria George, Imbros Gorge, Kourtaliotiko George, Zakros George (Faraggi ton Nekron) in Lassithi, etc.).
The island’s rhythms of entertainment are very intense. The Cretans have never given up music, dancing and singing, neither in periods of peace nor in periods of war. Today they preserve this tradition through hundreds of music and dance clubs, while contemporary they develop modern ways of artistic expression. All this activity is expressed by actualizing events in every corner of the island, the whole year round, referring to dance, singing and theatre. At the same time hundreds of entertainment facilities offer modern Greek, European and American music styles.
The Cretan diet is healthy and tasteful, the recipes are hundreds of years old, but they include modern creational interventions, and they are always made with high quality pure products from the blessed Cretan soil. The lucky ones who will visit the eating establishments, either modern restaurants in the cities or small taverns and cafes in the periphery, will undergo unforgettable experiences and will taste the “good living” of the island’s residents. The ancient Cretan dietary habits were evolved in the frame of divine hospitality, by combining ingredients produced by the Cretan soil, such as olive oil, wheat, wine, honey, wild vegetables and aromatic plants. These products are the basis of the Cretan cuisine. It is a fact that modern long-term science studies verify the healthy features and the high nutritional value of the Cretan diet.
Returning to nature through the alternative tourism facilities located on the island is an unforgettable experience. Man returns to nature from which he has been separated, due to his life style. In these facilities anyone can live the forgotten way of live, and can feel the joy of creation, by tilling the soil or participating in farming jobs. Simple food as bread, wine, honey, vegetables and fruits can be more than tasteful, because there is personal work involved in which you can participate too.
Crete is a land of heroes and saints, it has ancient spiritual traditions which are reflected in the historic monuments, churches, monasteries and chapels of the island. Prove of this spirituality are the many worshiping places, as ruins of temples dedicated to ancient Minoan and Greek gods, peak sanctuaries dedicated to Zeus, countless churches of the Byzantine and late Byzantine period, humble chapels scattered in the Cretan country and many monasteries preserving valuable treasures and sacred artefacts, which will welcome any visitor who wants to experience his/her spirituality in the hospitable cells.