Living in Crete, Greece

by Iyna Bort Caruso

When it comes to powerful citizenry, it doesn’t don’t get much mightier than Zeus, King of the Gods, according to Greek mythology, who was born in a cave on Crete and raised by nymphs.  

Crete is the largest island in Greece. Its location near Africa and Asia Minor historically made it a junction of trade and culture. It was the hub of the Minoan civilization, which flourished during the Bronze Age and generally regarded as Europe’s first advanced society. Roman, Arab, Venetian and Turkish cultures all left their mark, from Minoan palaces to Ottoman mosques. In 1913, the island officially joined with Greece.

Ancient monuments compete with an extraordinary landscape of mountains, coves, grottos and beaches. A mild climate means long swimming seasons. Crete’s northern coast is more developed while the southern coast is more secluded.

The island is a popular second-home destination for Northern Europeans. Citizens of European Union nations enjoy the same rights of property ownership as Greeks.

Four regions make up Crete. Heraklion, the island’s capital and largest area, is situated between two mountain ranges. Walls surround the old city. Fountains from the Venetian and Turkish eras are scattered throughout. The region is known for its olive groves, vineyards and handsome neoclassical homes.

The greenest part of Crete is in the region of Chania with traditional stone houses in mountain villages. In the Rethymno region, the city by the same name one of the best preserved medieval towns in the country. Rethymno is also home to Crete’s longest beach. The region of Lassithi is one of fashionable sea resorts. Nearby is the exclusive town of Elounda on the Mirabello Bay, once a fishing village and now the regular haunt of royalty. Two important archeological sites here include relics of the ancient sunken city of Olous and the Venetian fortress on the island of Spinalonga.

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