A percussion instrument is a musical instrument, sounded by being struck or scraped by a beater. The percussion family is believed to include the oldest musical instruments, following the human voice; the percussion section of an orchestra most contains instruments such as timpani, snare drum, bass drum, cymbals and tambourine. However, the section can contain non-percussive instruments, such as whistles and sirens, or a blown conch shell. Percussive techniques can be applied to the human body, as in body percussion. On the other hand, keyboard instruments, such as the celesta, are not part of the percussion section, but keyboard percussion instruments such as the glockenspiel and xylophone are included. Percussion instruments are most divided into two classes: Pitched percussion instruments, which produce notes with an identifiable pitch, unpitched percussion instruments, which produce notes or sounds without an identifiable pitch. Percussion instruments may play not only rhythm, but melody and harmony.
Percussion is referred to as "the backbone" or "the heartbeat" of a musical ensemble working in close collaboration with bass instruments, when present. In jazz and other popular music ensembles, the pianist, bassist and sometimes the guitarist are referred to as the rhythm section. Most classical pieces written for full orchestra since the time of Haydn and Mozart are orchestrated to place emphasis on the strings and brass; however at least one pair of timpani is included, though they play continuously. Rather, they serve to provide additional accents. In the 18th and 19th centuries, other percussion instruments have been used, again sparingly; the use of percussion instruments became more frequent in the 20th century classical music. In every style of music, percussion plays a pivotal role. In military marching bands and pipes and drums, it is the beat of the bass drum that keeps the soldiers in step and at a regular speed, it is the snare that provides that crisp, decisive air to the tune of a regiment.
In classic jazz, one immediately thinks of the distinctive rhythm of the hi-hats or the ride cymbal when the word "swing" is spoken. In more recent popular music culture, it is impossible to name three or four rock, hip-hop, funk or soul charts or songs that do not have some sort of percussive beat keeping the tune in time; because of the diversity of percussive instruments, it is not uncommon to find large musical ensembles composed of percussion. Rhythm and harmony are all represented in these ensembles. Music for pitched percussion instruments can be notated on a staff with the same treble and bass clefs used by many non-percussive instruments. Music for percussive instruments without a definite pitch can be notated with a specialist rhythm or percussion-clef. Percussion instruments are classified by various criteria sometimes depending on their construction, ethnic origin, function within musical theory and orchestration, or their relative prevalence in common knowledge; the word "percussion" derives from Latin the terms: "percussio", "percussus".
As a noun in contemporary English, Wiktionary describes it as "the collision of two bodies to produce a sound." The term has application in medicine and weaponry, as in percussion cap. However, all known uses of percussion appear to share a similar lineage beginning with the original Latin: "percussus". In a musical context the percussion instruments may have been coined to describe a family of musical instruments including drums, metal plates, or blocks that musicians beat or struck to produce sound. Hornbostel–Sachs has no high-level section for percussion. Most percussion instruments are classified as membranophones; however the term percussion is instead used at lower-levels of the Hornbostel–Sachs hierarchy, including to identify instruments struck with either a non-sonorous object or against a non-sonorous object. This is opposed to concussion, which refers to instruments with two or more complementary sonorous parts that strike against each other and other meanings. For example: 111.1 Concussion idiophones or clappers, played in pairs and beaten against each other, such as zills and clapsticks.
111.2 Percussion idiophones, includes many percussion instruments played with the hand or by a percussion mallet, such as the hang and the xylophone, but not drums and only some cymbals. 21 Struck drums, includes most types of drum, such as the timpani, snare drum, tom-tom. (Included in most drum sets or 412.12 Percussion reeds, a class of wind instrument unrelated to percussion in the more common sense There are many instruments that have some claim to being percussion, but are classified otherwise: Keyboard instruments such as the celesta and piano. Stringed instruments played with beaters such as the hammered dulcimer. Unpitched whistles and similar instruments, such as the pea whistle and Acme siren. Percussion instruments are sometimes classified as "pitched" or "unpitched". While valid, this classification is seen as inadequate. Rather, it may be more informative to describe percussion instruments in regards to one or more of the following four paradigms: Many texts, including Teaching Percussion by Gary Cook of the University of Arizona, begin by studying the physica
An aerophone is any musical instrument that produces sound by causing a body of air to vibrate, without the use of strings or membranes, without the vibration of the instrument itself adding to the sound. Aerophones categorically comprise "the largest and most complex group of instruments in the Americas". Aerophones are one of the four main classes of instruments in the original Hornbostel–Sachs system of musical instrument classification, which further classifies aerophones by whether or not the vibrating air is contained within the instrument; the first class includes instruments. The bullroarer is one example; these are called free aerophones. This class includes free reed instruments, such as the harmonica, but many instruments unlikely to be called wind instruments at all by most people, such as sirens and whips; the second class includes instruments. This class includes all instruments called wind instruments — including the didgeridoo, brass instruments, woodwind instruments. Additionally loud sounds can be made by explosions directed into, or being detonated inside of resonant cavities.
Detonations inside the calliope, as well as the pyrophone might thus be considered as class 42 instruments, despite the fact that the "wind" or "air" may be steam or an air-fuel mixture. According to Ardal Powell, the flute is a simple instrument found in numerous ancient cultures. There are three legendary and archeologically verifiable birthplace sites of flutes: Egypt and India. Of these, the transverse flute appeared only in ancient India, while the fipple flutes are found in all three, it is states Powell, that the modern Indian bansuri has not changed much since the early medieval era. Identifying the origin of the aerophone is difficult, though it is believed that Americans and their descendants developed the largest diversity of aerophones, they are understood to have been the major non-vocal, melodic instruments of Native America. Archaeological studies have found examples of globular flutes in ancient Mexico and Peru, multiple tubular flutes were common among the Maya and Aztec; the use of shells of Conches as an aerophone have been found to be prevalent in areas such as Central America and Peru.
Examples of aerophone type instruments in China can be dated back to the Neolithic period. Fragments of bone flutes can be found at the burial sites of the Jiahu settlements of ancient China, they represent some of the earliest known examples of playable instruments; the instruments were carved from the wing bone of the red-crowned crane, had five to eight holes. The flutes were efficient enough to produce sound in a nearly accurate octave, are thought to have been used ceremonially or for ritualistic purposes. Examples of flutes made out of bamboo in China date back to 2nd Century BC; these flutes were known as Dizi's or Di and had 6 holes for playing melodies that were framed by scale-modes. Flutes including the famous Bansuri, have been an integral part of Indian classical music since 1500 BC. A major deity of Hinduism, has been associated with the flute; some early flutes were made out of tibias. The flute has always been an essential part of Indian culture and mythology, the cross flute is believed, by several accounts, to originate in India as Indian literature from 1500 BCE has made vague references to the cross flute.
Free aerophones are instruments. The air-stream meets a sharp edge; the air-stream is interrupted periodically. Called "percussive aerophones", plosive aerophones are sounded by percussion caused by a single compression and release of air. An example of a plosive aerophone is the "scraper flute" which has tubes with ridged or serrated edges so that they can be scraped with a rod to produce sound. Non-free aerophones are instruments. Called wind instruments, they are divided into two categories, it is accepted that wind instruments are not classified on the material from which they are made, as a woodwind instrument does not need to be made of wood, nor a brass instrument made of brass. Woodwind instruments are made with wood, glass or ivory and include the flute, bassoon, clarinet and the saxophone. Brass instruments are made with silver, ivory, horn, or wood and include the trumpet, horn and the tuba. A flute is a type of aerophone, as is the Eunuch flute referred to as a mirliton. A flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening.
According to the instrument classification of Hornbostel–Sachs, flutes are categorized as edge-blown aerophones. Aside from the voice, flutes are the earliest known musical instruments. A number of flutes dating to about 43,000 to 35,000 years ago have been found in the Swabian Alb region of Germany; these flutes demonstrate that a developed musical tradition existed from the earliest period of modern human presence in Europe. Flute aerophone examples A reed aerophone is a musical instrument that produces sound by the player's breath being directed against a lamella or pair of lamellae which periodically interrupt the airflow and cause the air to be set in motion. Reed aerophone examples A brass aerophone is a musical instrument that produces sound by s
A psaltery is a stringed instrument of the zither family. The psaltery of Ancient Greece is a harp-like instrument; the word psaltery derives from the Ancient Greek ψαλτήριον, "stringed instrument, harp" and that from the verb ψάλλω, "to touch to pluck, twitch" and in the case of the strings of musical instruments, "to play a stringed instrument with the fingers, not with the plectrum." The psaltery was made from wood, relied on natural acoustics for sound production. In the King James Version of the Bible, "psaltery", its plural, "psalteries", are used to translate several words whose meaning is now unknown: the Hebrew keli in Psalm 71:22 and I Chronicles 16:5. In the Christian era, a psaltery consisting of a soundboard with several pre-tuned strings that are plucked came into use, it was known by the name canon from the Greek word κανών, which means "rule", "principle", "mode". The modern Greek folk instrument is called by kanonaki; the instrument is small enough to be portable. From the 12th through the 15th centuries, psalteries are seen in manuscripts and sculpture throughout Europe.
They vary in shape and the number of strings. In the 19th century, several related zithers came into use, notably the guitar zither and the autoharp. In the 20th century, the bowed psaltery came into wide use, it is set up in a triangular format. Similar instruments include the large cimbalom and the smaller dulcimer, both played using small hammers to hit the strings. Gusli Kantele Nevel Psalterium Santur Zither Kankles Kokles Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Psaltery". Encyclopædia Britannica. Cambridge University Press. Psaltery Discussion of psalteries, with image from the exhibition Making Musical Instruments: The making of musical instruments in Canada by the Canadian Museum of Civilisation
The Cretan lyra is a Greek pear-shaped, three-stringed bowed musical instrument, central to the traditional music of Crete and other islands in the Dodecanese and the Aegean Archipelago, in Greece. The Cretan lyra is considered to be the most popular surviving form of the medieval Byzantine lyra, an ancestor of most European bowed instruments; the lyra is held vertically on the player's lap, in the same way as a small viol, rather than being placed under the chin of the player like a violin. For normal right-handed playing, the player's right hand holds the bow; the strings are stopped by pressing the fingernails of the player's left hand against the side of the string, rather than by pressing the string against the fingerboard. This gives it a different tone from the violin. Older lyras have one string, not fingered and is used as a drone, playing the same note while tunes are played on the other two strings The Cretan lyra is related to the bowed Byzantine lyra, the ancestor of many European bowed instruments, to the rabāb, found in Islamic empires of that time.
The 9th-century Persian geographer Ibn Khurradadhbih, in his lexicographical discussion of instruments, cited the lyra as a typical instrument of the Byzantines along with the urghun and the salandj. The Byzantine lyra spread westward through Europe with uncertain evolution. Bowed instruments similar to the Cretan lyra and direct descendants of the Byzantine lyra have continued to be played in many post-Byzantine regions until the present day with small changes, for example the Gadulka in Bulgaria, the bowed Calabrian lira in Italy and the Classical Kemenche in Istanbul, Turkey. With regard to the period of introduction of the bowed instrument in the island, there are four schools of thought: The Byzantine lyra was introduced after 961 AD, when the island was reconquered from Arabs by the Byzantine Empire under the command of Nikephoros Phokas. At that time, noble families from Constantinople were sent to settle on Crete to inject new life and replenish the Greek population, who introduced many Byzantine traditions from Constantinople.
The lyra was introduced from the islands of the Dodecanese, entered the island through the eastern town of Sitia, the neighbor of Kassos and Karpathos. The lyra was introduced into the island's traditions as a popular element of the Byzantine music and tradition, in a similar manner that lyra was introduced in other regions. By the local tradition, the Cretan lyra has been spontaneous developed in the island of Crete some time before the year 961 AD and after the Byzantine invasion of Nikephoros Phokas it's been adopted by the Byzantine panspermia among other treasures from Crete, to Istanbul, from there, spread east and west. Over the centuries and during the island's Venetian era, the violin exerted its influence on the music of Crete both under the organological and musical aspect, bringing about profound changes in the instrument's repertory, organology, musical language and performance practice. There are three major types of Cretan lyras: the lyraki, a small model of lyra identical to the Byzantine lyra, used only for the performance of dances the vrontolyra, which has a strong sound, ideal for accompaniment of songs the common lyra, popular in the island today.
The influence of the violin caused the transformation of many features of the old form of Cretan Lyra into the contemporary lyra, including its tuning, performance practice, repertory. In 1920, the viololyra was developed in an effort by local instrument manufacturers to give the sound and the technical possibilities of the violin to the old Byzantine lyraki. Twenty years a new combination of lyraki and violin gave birth to the common lyra. Other types include the four-stringed lyra. In 1990, Ross Daly designed a new type of Cretan lyra which incorporates elements of lyraki, the Byzantine lyra and the Indian sarangi; the result was a lyra with three playing strings of 29 cm in length, 18 sympathetic strings which resonate on Indian-styled jawari bridges. The Lyra has a body with a pear-shaped soundboard, or one, oval in shape, with two small semi-circular soundholes; the body and neck are carved out of one piece of aged wood. Traditionally the body's wood was sourced from trees growing in Crete such as walnut and asfadamos, the local plane tree.
The soundboard is carved with a shallower arch and is made of straight-grained softwood: traditionally the aged wooden beams of buildings and, ideally the 300-year-old wooden beams from Venetian ruins. In the past, the strings were made of the bow of horse-tail hair. In the past, the bow's arc had a series of spherical bells, gerakokoudouna, to provide rhythmic accompaniment to the melody when the bow was moving. Today, most lyras are played with violin bows. A method for the vibration analysis and characterization of the Cretan lyre top plates was reported in 2006; the old model of t
It seems that Byzantine music is the music of the Byzantine Empire, but political history is rather complicated and the heritage of Byzantine music developed and continued outside its territory. It consisted of songs and hymns composed to Greek texts used for courtly ceremonials, during festivals, or as paraliturgical and liturgical music; the ecclesiastical forms of Byzantine music are the best known forms today, because different Orthodox traditions still identify with the heritage of Byzantine music, when their cantors sing monodic chant out of the traditional chant books such as sticherarion, which in fact consisted of five books, the heirmologion. Byzantine music did not disappear after the fall of Constantinople, its traditions continued under the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which after the Ottoman conquest in 1453 was granted administrative responsibilities over all Orthodox Christians. During the decline of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, burgeoning splinter nations in the Balkans declared autonomy or "autocephaly" against the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The new self-declared patriarchates were independent nations defined by their religion. In this context, Christian religious chant practiced in the Ottoman empire, Bulgaria and Greece among other nations, was based on the historical roots of the art tracing back to the Byzantine Empire, while the music of the Patriarchate created during the Ottoman period was regarded as "post-Byzantine"; this explains why Byzantine music refers to several Orthodox Christian chant traditions of the Mediterranean and of the Caucasus practiced in recent history and today, this article cannot be limited to the music culture of the Byzantine past. The tradition of eastern liturgical chant, encompassing the Greek-speaking world, developed in the Byzantine Empire from the establishment of its capital, Constantinople, in 330 until its fall in 1453, it is undeniably of composite origin, drawing on the artistic and technical productions of the classical Greek age and inspired by the monophonic vocal music that evolved in the early Greek Christian cities of Alexandria, Jerusalem and Ephesus.
It was imitated by musicians of the 7th century to create Arab music as a synthesis of Byzantine and Persian music, these exchanges were continued through the Ottoman Empire until Istanbul today. The term Byzantine music is sometimes associated with the medieval sacred chant of Christian Churches following the Constantinopolitan Rite. There is an identification of "Byzantine music" with "Eastern Christian liturgical chant", due to certain monastic reforms, such as the Octoechos reform of the Quinisext Council and the reforms of the Stoudios Monastery under its abbots Sabas and Theodore; the triodion created during the reform of Theodore was soon translated into Slavonic, which required the adaption of melodic models to the prosody of the language. After the Patriarchate and Court had returned to Constantinople in 1261, the former cathedral rite was not continued, but replaced by a mixed rite, which used the Byzantine Round notation to integrate the former notations of the former chant books.
This notation had developed within the book sticherarion created by the Stoudios Monastery, but it was used for the books of the cathedral rites written in a period after the fourth crusade, when the cathedral rite was abandoned at Constantinople. It is being discussed that in the Narthex of the Hagia Sophia an organ was placed for use in processions of the Emperor’s entourage. According to the chant manual "Hagiopolites", the earliest that has survived until today, chanters of the Hagia Sophia used a system 16 church tones, while the author of this treatise introduces to a tonal system of 10 echoi. Both schools have in common a set of 4 octaves, each of them had a kyrios echos with the finalis on the degree V of the mode, a plagios echos with the final note on the degree I. According to Latin theory, the resulting eight tones had been identified with the seven modes and tropes; the names of the tropes like “Dorian” etc. had been used in Greek chant manuals, but the names Lydian and Phrygian for the octaves of devteros and tritos had been sometimes exchanged.
The Ancient Greek harmonikai was a Hellenist reception of the Pythagorean education programme defined as mathemata. Harmonikai was one of them. Today, chanters of the Christian Orthodox churches identify with the heritage of Byzantine music whose earliest composers are remembered by name since the 5th century. Compositions had been related to them, but they must be reconstructed by notated sources which date centuries later; the melodic neume notation of Byzantine music developed late since the 10th century, with the exception of an earlier ekphonetic notation, interpunction signs used in lectionaries, but modal signatures for the eight echoi can be found in fragments of monastic hymn books dating back to the 6th century. Amid the rise of Christian civilization within Hellenism, many concepts of knowledge and education survived during the imperial age, when Christianity became the official religion; the Pythagorean sect and music as part of the four "cyclical exercises" that preceded the Latin quadrivium and science today based on mathematics, established among Greeks in southern Italy.
Greek anachoretes of the early Middle Ages did still follow this education. The Calabrian Cassiodorus founded Vivarium where he translated Greek texts, John of Damascus who learnt Greek from a Ca
The bouzouki is a musical instrument popular in Greece, brought there in the 1900s by Greek immigrants from Turkey, became the central instrument to the rebetiko genre and its music branches. A mainstay of modern Greek music, the bouzouki has a flat front heavily inlaid with mother-of-pearl; the instrument is played with a plectrum and has a sharp metallic sound, reminiscent of a mandolin but pitched lower. There are two main types of bouzouki: the trichordo has three pairs of strings and the tetrachordo has four pairs of strings; the name bouzouki comes from the Turkish word bozuk, meaning "broken" or "modified", comes from a particular re-entrant tuning called bozuk düzen, used on its Turkish counterpart, the saz-bozuk. It is in the same instrumental family as the lute; the body was carved from a solid block of wood, similar to the saz, but upon its arrival in Greece in the early 1910s it was modified by the addition of a staved back borrowed from the Neapolitan mandola, the top angled in the manner of a Neapolitan mandolins so as to increase the strength of the body to withstand thicker steel strings.
The type of the instrument used in Rembetika music was a three-stringed instrument, but in the 1950s a four-string variety by Manolis Chiotis was introduced. From a construction point of view, the bouzouki can have differences not only in the number of strings but in other features, e.g. neck length, height, depth of the bowl or main body, the width of the staves etc. These differences are determined by the manufacturer, who in his experience and according to the sound that the instrument should make, modifies his functional elements to achieve a more piercing, deeper or heavier sound; the size and type of the resonating body determine the instrument's timbre, while the length of the neck, by extension the strings, determines the instrument's pitch range, as well as influencing the timbre. While neck length can vary from instrument to instrument, most bouzoukis have the same number of frets, spaced such as to provide a chromatic scale in 12-tone equal temperament. On modern instruments the frets are metal, set into fixed position in the fingerboard The quality of the wood from which the instrument is made is of great importance to the sound.
For the construction of the bowl, apricot, cherry and elm are considered to be the best woods with walnut and chestnut being inferior. The wood must be sourced from slow growth trees; the top or soundboard should spruce if possible, cut in one piece. The top plays a major role in the sound because it resonates and strengthens and prolongs the vibration of the strings. Another factor that affects the quality of the sound is the varnish and the method of its application; the best varnish is a natural one made of shellac, applied by hand in many layers in the traditional way, for both acoustic and visual effect. The neck must be of dry hardwood in order not to warp and increase the distance of the strings from the fret board which makes playing the instrument more laborious. To achieve this, manufacturers use each one having their own secrets. Many modern instrument have a metal rod or bar set into a channel in the neck, under the fingerboard, which adds some weight, but increases rigidity, allows adjustment of the neck should it begin to warp.
The Greek bouzouki is a plucked musical instrument of the lute family, called the thabouras or tambouras family. The tambouras has existed in ancient Greece as pandoura, can be found in various sizes, depths of body, lengths of neck and number of strings; the bouzouki and the baglamas are the direct descendants. The Greek marble relief, known as the Mantineia Base, dating from 330–320 BC, shows a muse playing a variant of the pandoura. From Byzantine times it was called pandura and tambouras. On display in the National Historical Museum of Greece is the tambouras of a hero of the Greek revolution of 1821, General Makriyiannis. Other sizes have appeared and include the Greek instrument tzouras, an instrument smaller in size than standard bouzouki; the bouzouki arrived in Greece following the 1919–1922 war in Asia Minor and the subsequent exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey when the ethnic Greeks fled to Greece. The early bouzoukia were three-string, with three courses and were tuned in different ways, as to the scale one wanted to play.
At the end of the 1950s, four-course bouzoukia started to gain popularity. The four-course bouzouki was made popular by Manolis Chiotis, who used a tuning akin to standard guitar tuning, which made it easier for guitarists to play bouzouki as it angered purists; however it allowed for greater virtuosity and helped elevate the bouzouki into a popular instrument capable of a wide range of musical expression. The three-course bouzouki has gained in popularity; the first recording with the 4-course instrument was made in 1956. The Irish bouzouki, with four courses, a flatter back, differently tuned from the Greek bouzouki, is a more recent development, stemming from the introduction of the Greek instrument into Irish music by Johnny Moynihan around 1965, its subsequent adoption by Andy Irvine, Alec Finn, Dónal Lunny, many others. This
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the 88th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica. Crete and a number of surrounding islands and islets constitute the region of Crete, one of the 13 top-level administrative units of Greece; the capital and the largest city is Heraklion. As of 2011, the region had a population of 623,065. Crete forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece, while retaining its own local cultural traits, it was once the centre of the Minoan civilisation, the earliest known civilisation in Europe. The palace of Knossos lies in Crete; the island is first referred to as Kaptara in texts from the Syrian city of Mari dating from the 18th century BC, repeated in Neo-Assyrian records and the Bible. It was known in ancient Egyptian as Keftiu suggesting a similar Minoan name for the island; the current name of Crete is thought to be first attested in Mycenaean Greek texts written in Linear B, through the words ke-re-te, ke-re-si-jo, "Cretan".
In Ancient Greek, the name Crete first appears in Homer's Odyssey. Its etymology is unknown. One proposal derives it from a hypothetical Luwian word, *kursatta. In Latin, it became Creta; the original Arabic name of Crete was Iqrīṭiš, but after the Emirate of Crete's establishment of its new capital at ربض الخندق Rabḍ al-Ḫandaq, both the city and the island became known as Χάνδαξ or Χάνδακας, which gave Latin and Venetian Candia, from which were derived French Candie and English Candy or Candia. Under Ottoman rule, in Ottoman Turkish, Crete was called Girit. Crete is the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, it is located in the southern part of the Aegean Sea separating the Aegean from the Libyan Sea. The island has an elongated shape: it spans 260 km from east to west, is 60 km at its widest point, narrows to as little as 12 km. Crete covers an area of 8,336 km2, with a coastline of 1,046 km, it lies 160 km south of the Greek mainland. Crete is mountainous, its character is defined by a high mountain range crossing from west to east, formed by three different groups of mountains: The White Mountains or Lefka Ori 2,454 m The Idi Range (Psiloritis 35.18°N 24.82°E / 35.18.
The island has a number of gorges, such as the Samariá Gorge, Imbros Gorge, Kourtaliotiko Gorge, Ha Gorge, Platania Gorge, the Gorge of the Dead and Richtis Gorge and waterfall at Exo Mouliana in Sitia. The rivers of Crete include the Ieropotamos River, the Koiliaris, the Anapodiaris, the Almiros, the Giofyros, Megas Potamos. There are only two freshwater lakes in Crete: Lake Kournas and Lake Agia, which are both in Chania regional unit. Lake Voulismeni at the coast, at Aghios Nikolaos, was a freshwater lake but is now connected to the sea, in Lasithi. Lakes that were created by dams exist in Crete. There are three: the lake of Aposelemis Dam, the lake of Potamos Dam, the lake of Mpramiana Dam. A large number of islands and rocks hug the coast of Crete. Many are visited by tourists, some are only visited by biologists; some are environmentally protected. A small sample of the islands includes: Gramvousa the pirate island opposite the Balo lagoon Elafonisi, which commemorates a shipwreck and an Ottoman massacre Chrysi island, which hosts the largest natural Lebanon cedar forest in Europe Paximadia island where the god Apollo and the goddess Artemis were born The Venetian fort and leper colony at Spinalonga opposite the beach and shallow waters of Elounda Dionysades islands which are in an environmentally protected region together the Palm Beach Forest of Vai in the municipality of Sitia, LasithiOff the south coast, the island of Gavdos is located 26 nautical miles south of Hora Sfakion and is the southernmost point of Europe.
Crete straddles two climatic zones, the Mediterranean and the North African falling within the former. As such, the climate in Crete is Mediterranean; the atmosphere can be quite humid, depending on the proximity to the sea, while winter is mild. Snowfall is rare in the low-lying areas. While some mountain tops are snow-capped for most of the year, near the coast snow only stays on the ground for a few minutes or hours. However, a exceptional cold snap swept the island in February 2004, during which period the whole island was blanketed with snow. During the Cretan summer, average temperatures reach the high 20s-low 30s Celsius, with maxima touching the upper 30s-mid 40s; the south coast, including the Mesara Pla