Crete has long become a holiday favourite for many over the years. Thanks to its crystal-clear beaches and hot weather it’s clear to see why. But Crete holds a lot of history and culture too, truly making it one of a kind. If a visit to Crete interests you, or you’ve been there before and loved it, we’ve got a few fascinating facts about the Greek island – an ideal place for culture vultures indeed!
It’s the birthplace of modern European civilisation
Excavations have revealed that the first settlements in Crete date all the way back to the 7th Millennium BC. Europe’s first advanced civilisation, the Minoans, lived on the island from 2,700 BC for approximately 1,500 years. They were so advanced that they had invented coins and money, lived an urban lifestyle and were in the process of building a navy whilst other European civilisations were still living an alternate primitive lifestyle.
One of the biggest attractions in Crete, especially for history buffs is the Palace of Knossos. Europe’s oldest city of Knossos, was also the economic heartbeat of the Minoans. The features of the palace have been recreated at the site. This allows visitors to visit the remains and go back in time to the Minoan period. This experience offers a more interactive approach to generic museums, making it a fantastic day out when in Crete. As a result, Knossos has become the second most popular visit in Greece.
The birthplace of Zeus, King of the Greek gods
Greece as a whole is full of ancient history and Crete definitely plays a big part within it. The island is said to be where the Greek god Zeus was born. Specifically, in a cave on Mount Ida. The reason behind this is Zeus’ mother wanted to save him from his father Cronos, who had a fascination with eating his children. It is not decided whether Zeus was raised by wild animals or nymphs, but nevertheless, it’s an interesting look into mythological Greece.
The legend of Icarus
On the topic of mythological Greece, the legend of Icarus took place on the island of Crete. The myth suggests that Icarus wanted to fly but whilst he was flying, he got too close to the sun. The Cretan sun melted the wax on his wings which unfortunately led to his death. Interestingly, Icarus is the inspiration behind naming the Icaria Sea.
It’s got the clearest waters in Europe and healing air
When it comes to natural phenomenons, you can argue that Crete is near the top of the list. The natural scenery is beautiful, especially if you’re looking for a relaxing holiday. Many claim that Crete has the clearest water compared to anywhere else in the Mediterranean and Europe as a whole. The most fascinating thing is that you can have underwater views from up to 40 meters above. So, it’s not a surprise to learn that many of Crete’s beaches hold the EU Blue Flag award. Moreover, many believe that the air in Crete has healing powers. In ancient Greek times, Hippocrates, the father of medicine used to treat the sick using Cretan air.