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
Gavdos is the southernmost Greek island, located to the south of its much larger neighbour, Crete, of which it is administratively a part, in the regional unit of Chania. It was part of the former Selino Province; the island is situated at the southern tip of Greece, thus making it the southernmost point of the entire European continent. Gavdos has been known by a wide variety of names. For example, it appears in the biblical account of Paul's journey to Rome in Acts 27 as "Clauda" or "Cauda"; the island was referred to as "Cauda" by Roman geographer Pomponius Mela, as "Gaudos" by Pliny. Ptolemy called Gavdos "Claudos"; the Venetians called it "Gotzo" in imitation of the Maltese island "Gozo". From the 17th to the 19th centuries, the island was known as "Gondzo". A Turkish name of Godzo was "Bougadoz"; the island is 26 nautical miles south of Chora Sfakion. The area of the municipality, which includes the small island Gavdopoula, is 32.424 square kilometres. The island is triangular in shape, its highest point is 345 metres.
The southeastern corner is a rocky peninsula with a natural arch carved by the elements, called Trypiti. A sculpture of an oversized chair sits on top of Trypiti. There is an islet called Gavdopoula to the north west of Gavdos. Gavdos and Gavdopoula are covered with low-lying shrubs. Both are important stops for migrating birds. Local birds include the European shag. Gavdos has a variety of other vegetation, such as maquis as well as forests of pines and junipers. Gavdos is the southernmost island in Greece and all of Europe, with a warm Mediterranean subtropical climate typical of the Greek islands, summers are hot with daily temperatures reaching 32 ° C in August and mild winters by European standards, the coldest month has an average temperature of 17 ° C; the Mediterranean Sea is an important thermal regulator that surrounds it island in all its directions, while maintaining the high temperature of the sea in summer passing from 26 ° C. The mild climate is aided by hot winds blowing from the Sahara Desert.
The countless mountains of the Balkans protect from the cold, continental air, in addition to its island condition. As a result of the Subtropical High of the Azores precipitation is concentrated in winter, making summers dry with no precipitation days during June and August months, it is the sunniest place in Europe and with the highest number of radiation: between 1800 and 1900 kWh/m², values closer to North Africa and the Middle East. There are only a small number of year-round residents of services for tourists are basic; as of 2011, the total population of Gavdos was 152. In reality, fewer than 50 people live permanently on the island. In the summer the total people on the island can reach over 3,500, most of whom are campers and tourists; the largest man-made harbour for ferries is Karave. The island's capital is Kastri; the southernmost populated village is Vatsiana, with a total permanent population of 31 people. Gavdos has supported a permanent population since Neolithic times. However, the island has few permanent residents.
Gavdos has been identified as a possible site of the mythical Ogygia where Kalypso held Odysseus prisoner. Archaeological evidence showed. During that time the flora of the island was overexploited and that started a process of erosion which has continued to this day. Gavdos had 8,000 inhabitants by 900 AD. During the Ottoman Empire's reign on the island, which lasted from 1665 until 1895, Gavdos was known as Gondzo. During this period the population decreased to only 500 by 1882. A reference to Saracens on the island survives: the beach Sarakiniko. In the 1930s the island was used as a place of exile of communists. During World War II, allied forces evacuated some forces to Gavdos following the German victory in the battle of Crete. On, the general phase of urbanization that started in other parts of Greece in the 1960s took place in the 1950s on Gavdos. During that period the islanders exchanged their land on Gavdos with ex-Turkish land on Crete, which had now become exchangeable via the state.
Upon settling in Crete they created a community known as Gavdiotika, part of the town of Paleochora. There are many abandoned terraces on Gavdos. There still is some agriculture on Gavdos. During the summer, the population of the island swells to a few thousand because of tourists, although there are few facilities for tourists. There is one year-round cafe in Carave on Gavdos run by Evangelina Tsigonakis. There is a modern non-functioning reproduction lighthouse tower on Gavdos which now serves as a cafe during the summer season. Gavdos has an FM radio station, Gavdos FM 88.8, available online. Following years of isolation, in 1996 the island came to media prominence. In a NATO exercise Gavdos was the focal point of a confrontation between Turkey. Following that, Prime Minister Costas Simitis visited Gavdos and announced a five-year, €1.5 million plan for the island's development. In 2001, Costis Stephanopoulos, the Greek President, inaugurated a telemedicine centre on Gavdos, an
Kissamos is a town and municipality, multiple bishopric and Latin titular see in the west of the island of Crete, Greece. It is part of the Chania regional unit and of the former Kissamos Province which covers the northwest corner of the island; the city of Kissamos is known as Kastelli Kissamou and known as Kastelli after the Venetian castle, there. It is now a fishing harbour, with a regular ferry from the Peloponnese via Kythira. A town museum is located in the old Venetian governor's palace and there have been important archaeological finds in the town, including fine mosaics, dating from the Roman city of Kisamos; the head town of the municipality is Kastelli-Kissamos itself. Strabo said that ancient Cisamus was its naval arsenal; the Peutinger Table distinguishes two port towns in Crete called Cisamus, Modern Kissamos is much further west than where Aptera is now placed. It was excluded by Pashley in 1837 as being, of the two ancient maritime Cretan cities named Kisamos, the one associated with Aptera.
In the past, when the port of Aptera was thought to be present-day Kissamos, some supposed Aptera to be identical with Polyrrhenia, Kissamos to be the port of Polyrrhenia. However and other ancient sources say that Polyrrhenia's port was at Phalasarna on the west coast. Ancient Cisamus became a Christian bishopric, a suffragan of the metropolitan see of Gortyna, the capital of the Roman province of Crete. Only two of its first-millennium bishops are named in extant contemporary documents: Theopemptus, Nicetas at the Trullan Council in 692, Leo at the Second Council of Nicaea in 787; the bishopric is still a residential. After the Venetian conquest of Crete in 1212, Cisamus became a Latin Church diocese; the names of more than 20 residential Latin bishops from until the end of the 16th century are known, including: Suffragan Bishops of Kisamo... Angelo Barbarigo Bishop of Verona, Cardinal-Priest of Ss. Marcellino e Pietro Cardinal-Priest of S. Prassede in commendam (1415.07.04 – 1418.08.16... Prospero Santacroce, Apostolic Nuncio to Austria-Hungary, Apostolic Nuncio to France, Apostolic Nuncio to Portugal, again Apostolic Nuncio to France, created Cardinal-Priest of S. Girolamo degli Schiavoni, Apostolic Administrator of Arles, transferred Cardinal-Priest of S. Maria degli Angeli, Cardinal-Priest of S. Adriano al Foro pro hac vice Title, Cardinal-Priest of S. Clemente, promoted Cardinal-Bishop of Albano Apostolic Administrator Gerolamo Ragazzoni, former Coadjutor Bishop of Famagosta, Bishop of Novara, Bishop of Roman Catholic Diocese of Roman Catholic Diocese of Bergamo&Bergamo, Apostolic Nuncio to France No longer a residential bishopric, Cisamus is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular bishopric, since it was suppressed as residential see around 1600 AD.
It has been vacant for decades, having had the following incumbents, all of the lowest rank: Fortunato Bisleti, no office recorded Miguel Anselmo Álvarez de Abreu y Valdéz, as Auxiliary Bishop of Tlaxcala. S. Casquete Prado; the municipal unit of Kissamos includes the Gramvousa peninsula in the northwest and the adjacent Gramvousa islets, as well as the islet of Pontikonisi, the villages of Sfinari, Polirinia, Lousakia, Sirikari and Kalathena. It forms the extreme western part of the region, of Crete, it is bordered by Platanias to the East, by Kantanos-Selino to the south. The province of Kissamos was one of the provinces of the Chania Prefecture, its territory corresponded with that of the current municipality of Kissamos, the municipal units of Kolymvari and Voukolies. It
Gavdopoula is an islet located north-west of its larger neighbour, Gavdos, in the Libyan Sea. It is located to the south of Crete, of which it is administratively a part, in the regional unit of Chania, it is part of the municipality of Gavdos, it was part of the former Selino Province. Gavdopoula is covered with phrygana low-lying shrubs, it is an important stop for migrating birds. In 1998 the islet was the proposed site of an enormous container shipping storage facility. Environmentalists campaigned to block the development and Gavdopoula is now a protected nature reserve and notably for migrating birds. List of communities of Chania List of islands of Greece
Elafonisi is an island located close to the southwestern corner of the Mediterranean island of Crete, of which it is administratively a part, in the regional unit of Chania. When the weather is fine it is possible to walk to the island through the shallow water; the island is a protected nature reserve. It is known for its pink sand beaches, created by tidal and wave-induced deposits of pigmented microorganisms living in a symbiotic relationship with native seaweed. At the highest point on the island there is a plaque. On Easter Sunday of 18 April 1824 several hundred Greeks women and children, were killed on Elafonisi by Ottoman soldiers. To avoid advancing Turkish Ottoman troops, forty armed men had taken refuge on the island with women and old folk where they were waiting for a ship to take them to the Ionian Islands; the Ottoman soldiers had decided to camp on the beach opposite the island. One of their horses walked along the shallow water to the island and the people hiding on the island were discovered.
According to several sources there were between 640 and 850 people in total, most of whom were killed and the remaining survivors were sold into slavery in Egypt. A large wooden cross commemorates a shipwreck from 22 February 1907, it was an Österreichischer Lloyd passenger steamer, called the Imperatrix. Due to strong northwest winds 38 people died in a lifeboat, they were all buried on the island. The Imperatrix still lies on the seabed in front of the island's cliffs and was the reason that a lighthouse was built on an island hilltop; the lighthouse was destroyed during the Second World War by the occupying German troops. On the mainland the 17th century Chrysoskalitissa Monastery is 5 km from the island. List of settlements in the Chania regional unit See Chania Region for maps Municipality description Chania rent a car description
Regional units of Greece
The 74 regional units are administrative units of Greece. They are subdivisions of the country's 13 regions, further subdivided into municipalities, they were introduced as part of the "Kallikratis" administrative reform on 1 January 2011 and are comparable in area and, in the mainland, coterminous with the pre-"Kallikratis" prefectures of Greece
Pontikonisi is an uninhabited islet off the coast of western Crete. Administratively, it is part of the municipality Kissamos, in Chania regional unit. There is a small islet close to Pontikonisi called Pontikaki. List of islands of Greece