Heraklion

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Heraklion
Ηράκλειο
The Venetian fortress of Rocca al Mare (1523–1540) guards the inner harbor of Heraklion.
The Venetian fortress of Rocca al Mare (1523–1540) guards the inner harbor of Heraklion.
Seal of Heraklion
Location
Heraklion is located in Greece
Heraklion
Heraklion
Coordinates 35°20′N 25°8′E / 35.333°N 25.133°E / 35.333; 25.133Coordinates: 35°20′N 25°8′E / 35.333°N 25.133°E / 35.333; 25.133
Government
Country: Greece
Administrative region: Crete
Regional unit: Heraklion
Districts: Nea Alikarnassos, Gazi
Mayor: Vasilios Labrinos  (SYRIZA)
Population statistics (as of 2011)[1]
Municipality
 - Population: 173,993
 - Area: 120 km2 (46 sq mi)
 - Density: 1,450 /km2 (3,755 /sq mi)
Other
Time zone: EET/EEST (UTC+2/3)
Elevation (min-max): 0–33 m ­(0–108 ft)
Postal code: 70x xx, 71x xx, 720 xx
Telephone: 281
Auto: HK, HP
Website
www.heraklion-city.gr

Heraklion, or Heraclion also Iraklion (Greek: Ηράκλειο, Irákleio, pronounced [iˈraklio]) is the largest city and the administrative capital of the island of Crete, Greece. It is one of the largest cities in Greece.

Heraklion is the capital of Heraklion regional unit. The ruins of Knossos, which were excavated are located within close proximity of Heraklion.

Name[edit]

The Arab raiders from Andalusia who founded the Emirate of Crete moved the island's capital from Gortyna to a new castle they called rabḍ al-ḫandaq 'Castle of the Moat' in the 820s.[2] This was hellenized as Χάνδαξ (Khándax) or Χάνδακας (Khándakas) and Latinized as Candia, which was taken into other European languages: in Italian as Candia (used under the Venetian rule), in French as Candie, in English as Candy, all of which could refer to all of Crete as well as to the city itself; the Ottoman name was Kandiye.

After the Byzantine reconquest, the city was locally known as Megalo Kastro or Castro (the Big Castle in Greek) and its inhabitants were called Kastrinoi or Castrini (Castle-dwellers in Greek).

The ancient name Ηράκλειον was revived in the 19th century[3] and comes from the nearby Roman port of Heracleum ("Heracles' city"), whose exact location is unknown. English usage formerly preferred the classicizing transliterations "Heraklion" or "Heraclion", but the form "Iraklion" is becoming more common.

History[edit]

The snake goddess (c.1600 BCE) in Heraklion Archaeological Museum.

Heraklion is close to the ruins of the palace of Knossos, which in Minoan times was the largest centre of population on Crete. Though there is no archaeological evidence of it, Knossos may well have had a port at the site of Heraklion as long ago as 2000 BC.

Founding[edit]

The present city of Heraklion was founded in 824 by the Saracens who had been expelled from Al-Andalus by Emir Al-Hakam I and had taken over the island from the Eastern Roman Empire. They built a moat around the city for protection, and named the city ربض الخندق, rabḍ al-ḫandaq ("Castle of the Moat"). The Saracens allowed the port to be used as a safe haven for pirates who operated against Imperial shipping and raided Imperial territory around the Aegean.

Byzantine Era[edit]

Further information: Byzantine Greece
St. Matthew of the Sinaites Byzantine church

In 961, Imperial forces under the command of Nikephoros Phokas, later to become Emperor, landed in Crete and attacked the city. After a prolonged siege, the city fell. The Saracen inhabitants were slaughtered, the city looted and burned to the ground. Soon rebuilt, the town was renamed Χανδαχ, Chandax, and remained under Greek control for the next 243 years.

Venetian Era[edit]

Further information: Kingdom of Candia
Α part of the Venetian harbour (used for warehouses).
The arsenal

In 1204, the city was bought by the Republic of Venice as part of a complicated political deal which involved among other things, the Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade restoring the deposed Eastern Roman Emperor Isaac II Angelus to his throne. The Venetians improved on the ditch of the city by building enormous fortifications, most of which are still in place, including a giant wall, in places up to 40 m thick, with 7 bastions, and a fortress in the harbour. Chandax was renamed Candia and became the seat of the Duke of Candia, and the Venetian administrative district of Crete became known as "regno di Candia" (kingdom of Candia). The city retained the name of Candia for centuries and the same name was often used to refer to the whole island of Crete as well. To secure their rule, Venetians began in 1212 to settle families from Venice on Crete. The coexistence of two different cultures and the stimulus of Italian Renaissance led to a flourishing of letters and the arts in Candia and Crete in general, that is today known as the Cretan Renaissance.

Ottoman Era[edit]

Further information: Siege of Candia
Depiction of the Siege of Candia
The Ottoman Vezir Mosque (1856), built on the site of the church of St Titus, and now the basilica of St Titus.

After the Venetians came the Ottoman Empire. During the Cretan War (1645–1669), the Ottomans besieged the city for 21 years, from 1648 to 1669, perhaps the longest siege in history. In its final phase, which lasted for 22 months, 70,000 Turks, 38,000 Cretans and slaves and 29,088 of the city's Christian defenders perished.[4] The Ottoman army under an Albanian grand vizier, Köprülü Fazıl Ahmed Pasha conquered the city in 1669. Under the Ottomans, the city was known officially as Kandiye (again also applied to the whole island of Crete) but informally in Greek as Megalo Castro (Μεγάλο Κάστρο; "Big Castle"). During the Ottoman period, the harbour silted up, so most shipping shifted to Chania in the west of the island.

Modern era[edit]

In 1898, the autonomous Cretan State was created, under Ottoman suzerainty, with Prince George of Greece as its High Commissioner and under international supervision. During the period of direct occupation of the island by the Great Powers (1898–1908), Candia was part of the British zone. At this time, the city was renamed "Heraklion", after the Roman port of Heracleum ("Heracles' city"), whose exact location is unknown.

In 1913, with the rest of Crete, Heraklion was incorporated into the Kingdom of Greece.

Architecture and urban sculpture[edit]

Detail of the fountain in Lions Square.
The Venetian loggia (1626–28).
Agios Minas Cathedral in honour of Saint Menas, patron saint of the city.

At the port of the city dominate the Venetian constructions, such as the Koules Fortress (Rocca al Mare), the ramparts and the arsenal.

Around the city can be found several sculptures, statues and busts commemorating significant events and figures of the city's and island's history, like El Greco, Vitsentzos Kornaros, Nikos Kazantzakis and Eleftherios Venizelos.

Also, many fountains of the Venetian-era are preserved, such as the Bembo fountain, the Priuli fountain, Palmeti fountain, Sagredo fountain and Morosini fountain (in Lions Square).

Municipality[edit]

The municipality Heraklion was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 5 former municipalities, that became municipal units:[5]

Transportation[edit]

Port[edit]

View of the port

Heraklion is an important shipping port and ferry dock. Travellers can take ferries and boats from Heraklion to destinations including Santorini, Ios Island, Paros, Mykonos, and Rhodes. There are also several daily ferries to Piraeus, the port of Athens on mainland Greece.

Airport[edit]

Heraklion International Airport, or Nikos Kazantzakis Airport is located about 5 kilometres (3 miles) east of the city. The airport is named after Heraklion native Nikos Kazantzakis, a writer and philosopher. It is the second busiest airport of Greece, due to Crete being a major holiday destination.

The airfield is shared with the 126 Combat Group of the Hellenic Air Force.

Highway Network[edit]

European route E75 runs through the city and connects Heraklion with the three other major cities of Crete: Agios Nikolaos, Chania, and Rethymno.

Public transit[edit]

There are a number of buses serving the city and connecting it to many major destinations in Crete.

Railway[edit]

From 1922 to 1937, there was a working industrial railway, which connected the Koules in Heraklion to Xiropotamos, for the construction of the harbor.

A study from the year 2000 investigated the feasibility for two tram lines in Heraklion. The first line would link the Stadium to the airport, and the second the center of Heraklion and Knossos. No approval has yet been given for this proposal.

In the summer of 2007, at the Congress of Cretan emigrants, held in Heraklion, two qualified engineers, George Nathenas and Vassilis Economopoulos, recommended the development of a railway line in Crete, linking Chania, Rethymnon and Heraklion, with a total journey time of 50 minutes (30 minutes between Heraklion and Rethymnon, 20 minutes from Chania to Rethymnon) and with provision for extensions to Kissamos, Kastelli Pediados (for the planned new airport), and Aghios Nikolaos. No plans exist for implementing this idea.

Panoramic view of the old harbour.
Panoramic view of the harbour.

Climate[edit]

Crete has a warm Mediterranean climate. Summers in the lowlands are hot and dry with clear skies. Dry hot days are often relieved by seasonal breezes. The mountain areas are much cooler, with considerable rain in the winter. Winters are mild in the lowlands with rare frost and snow. Because Heraklion is further south than Athens, it has a milder climate.

Climate data for Heraklion
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 24.8
(76.6)
26.2
(79.2)
29.4
(84.9)
34.5
(94.1)
38.0
(100.4)
41.3
(106.3)
41.0
(105.8)
42.0
(107.6)
39.5
(103.1)
35.7
(96.3)
31.2
(88.2)
28.5
(83.3)
42
(107.6)
Average high °C (°F) 15.2
(59.4)
15.5
(59.9)
16.8
(62.2)
20.2
(68.4)
23.5
(74.3)
27.3
(81.1)
28.6
(83.5)
28.4
(83.1)
26.4
(79.5)
23.1
(73.6)
20.1
(68.2)
17.0
(62.6)
21.9
(71.4)
Daily mean °C (°F) 12.6
(54.7)
12.8
(55)
13.8
(56.8)
16.6
(61.9)
19.7
(67.5)
23.7
(74.7)
25.7
(78.3)
25.6
(78.1)
23.4
(74.1)
20.3
(68.5)
17.4
(63.3)
14.5
(58.1)
18.9
(66)
Average low °C (°F) 10.0
(50)
10.0
(50)
10.8
(51.4)
13.0
(55.4)
15.9
(60.6)
20.0
(68)
22.7
(72.9)
22.7
(72.9)
20.3
(68.5)
17.5
(63.5)
14.7
(58.5)
12.0
(53.6)
15.8
(60.4)
Record low °C (°F) 1.2
(34.2)
1.4
(34.5)
3.3
(37.9)
6.4
(43.5)
8.0
(46.4)
13.2
(55.8)
16.2
(61.2)
16.6
(61.9)
13.5
(56.3)
9.7
(49.5)
6.4
(43.5)
3.4
(38.1)
1.2
(34.2)
Precipitation mm (inches) 91.5
(3.602)
77.4
(3.047)
57.4
(2.26)
30.0
(1.181)
15.2
(0.598)
3.2
(0.126)
1.0
(0.039)
0.7
(0.028)
19.5
(0.768)
68.8
(2.709)
58.8
(2.315)
77.1
(3.035)
500.6
(19.709)
Avg. precipitation days 10.1 9.1 6.9 3.4 1.9 0.5 0.1 0.1 1.3 4.9 6.0 8.9 53.2
Mean monthly sunshine hours 117.8 124.7 176.7 228.0 300.7 351.0 372.0 347.2 282.0 198.4 150.0 120.9 2,769.4
Source: Hong Kong Observatory[6] NOAA (extremes)[7]

Colleges, Universities, Libraries and Research Centers[edit]

View of the port from the fortress
Bust of Nicolas Kitsikis, builder of the port of Herakleion (1921)

Culture[edit]

The Phaistos disk (2nd millennium BC) in Heraklion Archaeological Museum.

Museums[edit]

Sports[edit]

The city hosts three football clubs:

Famous natives[edit]

Marcus Musurus (left) and Nicholas Kalliakis (right) were two significant Renaissance humanists, scholars and philosophers from Heraklion.[8]
Epitaph on Nikos Kazantzakis' grave. I hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I'm free.

Heraklion has been the home town of some of Greece's most significant spirits, including the novelist Nikos Kazantzakis (perhaps best known for his novel Zorba the Greek), the poet and Nobel Prize winner Odysseas Elytis and the world-famous painter Domenicos Theotokopoulos (El Greco).

Literature[edit]

Scientists and Scholars[edit]

Painting and sculpture[edit]

Film industry[edit]

Music[edit]

Sports[edit]

Business[edit]

Politics[edit]

Law[edit]

Clergy[edit]

Fashion[edit]

Local TV stations[edit]

International relations[edit]

Prefecture of Crete

Consulates[edit]

Twin towns — sister cities[edit]

Heraklion is twinned with:

Location[edit]

     Fira     
 Chania - Rethymno  Brosen windrose.svg  Agios Nikolaos    
 Tympaki - Moires   Archanes    Ierapetra 

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Detailed census results 2011 (Greek)
  2. ^ Encyclopaedia of Islam, s.v. Iķrīṭish
  3. ^ it was in use by the local people by 1867, see Samuel Gridley Howe, The Cretan refugees and their American helpers, 1867 [1]
  4. ^ The War for Candia
  5. ^ Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior (Greek)
  6. ^ "Climatological Information for Iraklion, Greece" – Hong Kong Observatory
  7. ^ "Iraklion Climate Normals 1961-1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved December 19, 2012. 
  8. ^ Lathrop C. Harper (1886). Catalogue / Harper (Lathrop C.) inc., New York, Issue 232. Lathrop C. Harper, Inc. p. 36. OCLC 11558801. "Calliachius (1645–1707) was born on Crete and went to Italy at an early age, where he soon became one of the outstanding teachers of Greek and Latin." 
  9. ^ Rose, Hugh James; Rose, Henry John; Wright, Thomas (1857). A new general biographical dictionary, Volume 5. T. Fellowes. p. 425. OCLC 309809847. "CALLIACHI, (Nicholas,) a native of Candia, where he was born in 1645. He studied at Rome for ten years, at the end of which time he was made doctor of philosophy and theology. In 1666 he was invited to Venice, to take the chair of professor of the Greek and Latin languages, and of the Aristotelic philosophy; and in 1677 he was appointed professor of belles-lettres at Padua, where he died in 1707. His works on antiquities are valuable, and have been published by the marquis Poloni in the third volume of his Supplement to the Thesaurus Antiquitatum." 
  10. ^ Convegno internazionale nuove idee e nuova arte nell '700 italiano, Roma, 19-23 maggio 1975. Accademia nazionale dei Lincei. 1977. p. 429. OCLC 4666566. "Nicolò Duodo riuniva alcuni pensatori ai quali Andrea Musalo, oriundo greco, professore di matematica e dilettante di architettura chiariva le nuove idée nella storia dell’arte." 
  11. ^ Carlo Capra, Franco Della Peruta, Fernando Mazzocca (2002). Napoleone e la repubblica italiana: 1802-1805. Skira. p. 200. ISBN 978-88-8491-415-6. "Simone Stratico, nato a Zara nel 1733 da famiglia originaria di Creta (abbandonata a seguito della conquista turca del 1669)" 
  12. ^ I︠A︡roslav Dmytrovych Isai︠e︡vych (2006). Voluntary brotherhood: confraternities of laymen in early modern Ukraine. Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press. p. 47. ISBN 1-894865-03-0. "…the Greek merchants Constantine Korniakt and Manolis Arphanes Marinetos are added. This second redaction appeared no earlier than 1589, as wealthy Greeks began to join the confraternity at a later date, once it had expanded its activities. Korniakt was actually the wealthiest man in Lviv: he traded in Eastern, Western, and local goods, collected customs duty on behalf of the king, and owned a number of villages." 
  13. ^ "Limassol Twinned Cities". Limassol (Lemesos) Municipality. Archived from the original on 2013-04-01. Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  14. ^ "Twinnings". Central Union of Municipalities & Communities of Greece. Retrieved 2013-08-25. 

External links[edit]