Crete has been inhabited since 7000 BC — and as the island’s remarkable array of ruins, fortifica-tions and monuments can attest to, it has been an eventful seven thousand years.

The birthplace of the Minoan civilization, Europe’s first advanced society, Crete has been making major technological and architectural advances long before the rest of Greece. Although much of the splendor of the Minoan empire was destroyed by natural disasters, the main palaces of Knossos and Faistos are still mostly salvaged to this day.

Being a strategic gateway between three continents, the island has been occupied numerous times throughout the ages. Some, like the Venetians, left behind a vibrant culture and architecture. Despite its many hardships though, Crete always manages to emerge more fierce and proud than ever before. Today the island is one of Greece’s most popular destinations, attracting travelers from all over the world.