Heraklion City Walls for Cultural Strolls

Heraklion is the capital city in Crete and serves as the main transportation hub for the island, with a busy port and an international airport. The region is a favourite destination, especially during the summer period with much interesting sightseeing to visit.

Among all, the city walls, established from mediaeval times, now offer visitors some fantastic cultural strolls in the heart of the city.  Heraklion ranks among the best-fortified cities in the Mediterranean; The Venetian walls form a triangle protecting the old “Candia” (modern Heraklion) of the 16th century A.D. 

Walking along the Heraklion Walls feels like unwinding the skein of history of the city. The walls remain largely intact to this day; the construction of the defensive works began during the Byzantine Empire to repel pirate attacks, later the Saracens built a strong fortification, but they were completely rebuilt by the Venetians using materials from the quarries of Katsabas, Hersonisos and the ruins of Knossos Minoan Palace. The wall managed to hold out for 21 years but was finally seized in 1669 after betrayal. The Siege of Candia is the longest recorded in world history.

Today, the walls stretch to a length of seven kilometers; you can walk along the top of them for four kilometres, to see the city from up high and spot the impressive bastions and the four main gates, for the entrance to the city and the exit of the population to the countryside;

-        the Gate of Agios Georgios is situated on the eastern side, connected Candia with Eastern Crete and with the quarantine hospital (lazaretto).

-        the New gate led to the southern provinces of the county

-        the Chania Gate for the communication with the western parts of the city

-        Bethlehem Gate has turned into an art gallery

From the old gates you may reach the Grave of the Cretan writer Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957) who became world-famous thanks to his character Zorba the Greek. Then, take a walk along the “kordoni” (cord), as locals like to refer to the 2.4 kilometre –long harbour breakwater. This will lead to Koules- the Venetian sea fortress - the landmark and the symbol of the capital city of Crete.

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