Heraklion, the capital of Crete, is a fascinated, vibrant city with a rich history. Within the old town, visitors have the opportunity to tour important monuments like the fortress of Kules, which dominates the entrance to the venetian port, the shipyards with the barrel-vaulted roofs nearby and walk down the 25th August St. with its impressive buildings and monuments like Loggia, which today houses the town hall, St. Mark’s basilica and the Fontana Morosini (Lions), the best known and well preserved fountain of Heraklion. The old town is surrounded by the Venetian walls which were constructed over a period of 200 years by the most prominent military engineers of the time.
|There are many churches in Heraklion, which is the seat of the Archdiocese of Crete. Among the most well know is Agios Minas, the cathedral church of the city dedicated to the Patron Saint of Heraklion which was constructed between 1862 and 1895. Next to it there is the older St. Minas church which was built in 1735. St. Titus is another impressive church, which over the course of its history was repeatedly destroyed by earthquakes and fires. Heraklion is home to remarkable a number of museums and ancient sites of world historical importance. The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion is an impressive and newly renovated facility that hosts an outstanding collection of findings from excavations in Knossos, Pheastos, Gortyn, Aharnes, Matala and other regions. The museum features exhibits from the Minoan civilization as well as a vast collection of traces from the Neolithic period including ceramics, pottery, and sculptures from the Hellenistic period, not to mention statuettes, rings, coins and other findings from ancient tombs.|
The Historical Museum of Heraklion is dedicated to the Cretan culture where conference participants will be able to see a fascinating collection of artifacts, frescoes, icons, portraits and many other findings from the gammut of Cretan history and historical sites. The finds are arranged in a chronological and thematical order offering visitors the chance to discover the rich Cretan heritage. Nearby, the beautiful basilica of Saint Ekaterini houses an intriguing collection of Byzantine manuscripts, frescoes and icons.
Not far from Heraklion proper, in the village of Myrtia, conference participans will have the chance to visit a museum dedicated to Nikos Kazantzakis, one of the most famous Greek authors. Alternatively, the El Greco Museum, located in Fodele village, is another ideal stop for art lovers and historians who will admire the historical home of the great painter and reproductions of the painter's works in an idyllic environment. Heraklion also provides excellent facilities for children such as the Cretaquarium. which is the largest aquarium in the Mediterranean. Visitors can see rich marine life, outstanding marine landscapes and rare sea creatures.
|The archaeological site of Knossos, the centre of Minoan civilisation, lays 5km to the southeast of Heraklion. It has a long history of human habitation beginning the founding of the first Neolithic settlement at about 7000 BC. Knossos flourished during the Minoan period when it housed large multi-storey palatial buildings covering and area of about 22,000 square meters and extensive workshops. Due to its size and complexity Knossos was connected with thrilling legends, such as the myth of the Labyrinth and the Minotaur. The palace was destroyed twice by earthquakes and rebuilt. The city flourished again during the Hellenistic period. In 67 B.C. it was captured by the Romans. Knossos was eventually buried and completely lost and forgotten for many centuries, until it was rediscovered in 1878 by Minos Kalokairinos. Arthur Evans was the first person who conducted systematic excavations on the site.|
Archanes is a picturesque village built on the slopes of mount Giouhtas, 15 km. to the south of Heraklion. Situated in the center of the most important wine-producing region of Crete, it has a 5000 years old history. The settlement was first inhabited during the Neolithic period and by the Bronze Age it had evolved to an important center with a Minoan palace (Turkogytonia) and a city around it. Excavation over the last 50years have also uncovered many other buildings and tombs dated to the Minoan period to the north of the village, as well as a prehistoric cemetary at nearby Fourni, which was in constant use for over 2000 years. The village is also very famous for its typical Cretan architecture. Most of the houses have been restored recently and Archanes has won the second award as “the best restored village in Europe”.
During the summer season, there are many happenings in Heraklion including many festivals based both in the centre of the city as well as in the villages nearby. Some informative sites are:
Also located in Heraklio are many large Academic Institutions Some of the most known of these are:
The Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH), established in 1983, is one of the largest research centers in Greece with well organized facilities, highly qualified personnel and a reputation as a top-level research foundation worldwide. The Foundation, with headquarters in Heraklion, includes six Research Institutes in Heraklion, Rethymnon, Patras and Ioannina.
The University of Crete - a young public educational institution committed to excellence in research and teaching, the university was established in 1973. It now has sixteen departments in five schools (Philosophy, Education, Social, Economic & Political Sciences located in Rethymnon and Sciences & Engineering, and Medicine located in Heraklion) as well as a number of affiliated research-oriented institutions, including the Skinakas Observatory, the Natural History Museum, and the University General Hospital.
The Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture (IMBBC) is one of the three institutes of the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR). Its Research Directions include, Genetics and molecular biotechnology, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management, and Aquaculture.
The Technological Educational Institute of Crete (TEI), is one of the largest Higher Educational Institutes in Greece offers quality undergraduate and postgraduate studies in the fields of Informatics, Engineering, Health, Agriculture and Food, Economics and Management, Environment.
Because of the presence of these academic institutions and their schools and departments, many international conferences and events take place in the summer period in and around Heraklio. Thus a conference participants have the possibility to combine their visit not only with local cultural investigation but, in principle, with other international events.
The Cultural Conference Centre of Heraklion consists of a complex of five buildings which include rooms for lectures, recitals, ballet performances, exhibitions, etc. and aims to become a center for art and culture. This brand new centre provides state of the art facilities that will fully accommodate the conference participant’s needs. The premises are already in use and available for rending by anyone wishing to host an event. It is located at Nicolaos Plastiras Avenue in the Lakkos area in the old town of Heraklion.
Undoubtedly, Crete, located in the South Eastern Mediterranean Sea with over 1000 kilometres of coastline, long sandy beaches and favourable climate with sunny days and gentle sea breezes, is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Greece especially during the period from April to November.. There are numerous hotels for all tastes and budgets, as well as many rooms to rent and hostels.
|The economy of Crete is based mainly on Tourism, but Agriculture and Trade also play significant role. There are many olive groves, vineyards, oranges, legumes around the area of Heraklion. Cretan diet is well known as being one of the healthiest in the world. It features plenty of olive oil, fresh fruit, beans, pulses, vegetables and wine, all locally produced. A very typical Cretan dish that combines many of the products that are locally produced is rusk (ntakos), a traditional dried bread which is moistened in a bit of water and topped with grated tomato, olive oil, feta cheese and oregano. The local flora is impressive both for the richness of its biodiversity and the historical botanical knowledge related to this biodiversity. The most characteristic plants of the island are the aromatic plants and herbs that are used as ingredients in cooking, in the preparation of teas and as medicines. The thyme, the sage, the wild marjoram, the dittany, the mountain tea are only some of the herbs that one can see and smell on the island.|
Heraklion airport is the second busiest international airport of Greece, first in charter flights. The Port of Heraklion is one of the largest and busiest ports in Greece, with many shipping activities, new terminal facilities and cruise related infrastructure.