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Factsheet Crete
Identity:
Crete is known as Kriti or Κρήτη in Greece. It is one of the 13 regions in Greece and it is an island (nisi or νησί). It is the largest island in Greece and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean.
Geographical Position: Approximately 160 kilometres south of mainland Greece.
Captial City: Heraklion (Iraklion, Iraklio)
Prefectures: Chania, Heraklion, Lasithi, Rethymno.
Population: Over 600,000.
Area: 8,336 sq.km
Language: Greek, and more specifically the Cretan dialect, spoken by thousands of Cretans living in Crete and the diaspora.
Religion: Greek Orthodox.
Currency: Euro (since 2001).
Climate: Mediterranean with mild winters and hot summers.
Drinks: Tsikoudia, also known as “raki,” and Cretan wine or retsina Raki is a strong spirit made from the remnants of grapes that have previously been pressed for wine.
Food:
Cretan diet – rich in fruit, vegetables, cheese, olive oil, bread; low in meat – is the secret to Cretan longevity. Ntakos (Dakos) is a wheaten rusk soaked in water, sprinkled with olive oil and topped with tomato, feta cheese, olives and oregano. Myzitra and Graviera cheeses; snails; seafood.
Dance:
Pentozali.
Music:
Folk music played with the Lyra or Cretan lute.
Dinnertime: Late, normally after 10.
Main Cities & Towns:
On the north coast, Heraklion, Chania, Rethymnon, Malia, Chersonissos,  Agios Nikolaos, Elounda, Sitia. On the south coast, Ierapetra, Mires, Timbaki, Paleochora.
Airports:
Nikos Kazantzakis International airport of Heraklion, Akrotiri airport (close to Chania) and the Sitia airport are used for commercial flights. There are also two military airports, Kastelli and Timbaki.
Harbours:
The major harbours are in Heraklion and Souda Bay, with lesser harbours in Rethymnon, Agios Nikolaos and Sitia.
Mountains:
Lefka Ori (White Mountains) reaches a height of 2453m in the west, Mt Idi (Psiloritis) reaches 2456m in central Crete, and Mt Dikti reaches 2148m in the east.
Rivers & Lakes:
Major rivers are Preveli in southern Rethymno and Vrisses in Chania. Lake Kournas is one of the most picturesque lakes and a tourist attraction.
Famous Cretans:
Author and philosopher Nikos Kazantzakis, painter El Greco, politician and Prime Minister of Greece Eleftherios Venizelos, poet Odysseas Elitis, singer Nana Mouskouri, tennis player Eleni Daniilidou, ancient King of Crete, Minos, 6th century philosopher Epimenides.
Literature set in Crete:
Nikos Kazantzakis' Zorba the Greek and Captain Michalis; Mary Stewart's The Moon-Spinners; Steve Horsfall's You Are Here; Maro Douka's The Innocent and the Guilty; Victoria Hislop's The Island; George Psychoundakis' The Cretan Runner and Mike Gayle's Wish You Were Here.
Official website:

 
 
Classic Greek Church

"Lefka Ori" Mountain, Crete

Port of "Heraklion"

"Preveli River" Rethymno

Philos. "Nikos Kazantzakis"



 
 

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