A mythic land steeped in history; with potent gods, mighty kings and mightier men -and a wealth of ancient sites and modern-day monuments to prove it. An ever changing topography where you can go from snow-capped mountain peaks to balmy beaches in an hour, and experience all four seasons in a single day. A world-renowned cuisine for its health benefits and incredible taste. Soul-lifting music and dance -and plentiful occasions to experience both. With so much more than just sea, sand and sun, Crete has all the trappings of a legend. That’s why it rightfully belongs among the planet’s most popular destinations. If you are planning to visit Greece’s largest island, here are some fascinating facts about Crete:
4 Historical Facts about Crete
- The island is mentioned for the first time as Kaptara on cuneiform tablets from the Syrian city of Mari, dating back to the first half of the eighteenth century BCE. The name Crete first appears in Homer’s Odyssey.
- Crete is considered to be the oldest inhabited part of Europe. It also boasts the continent’s first advanced civilization, the Minoan, named after the mythological king Minos.
- Modern scholars distinguish four stages of the flourishing Minoan civilization: Before the palaces were built (c.3500-c.1900 BCE), the period of the old palaces (c.1900-c.1750 BCE), the period of the new palaces (c.1750-c.1500 BCE), and the age of Mycenaean domination (c.1500-c.1100 BCE).
- The main palaces were Knossos, Phaestus, Malia, (Kato) Zakros, and Gortyna. Following manmade or natural destructions, they were rebuilt twice and eventually taken over by the Mycenaean Greeks. Nowadays these splendid archaeological sites are open to the public.
16 Number Facts about Crete
- Covering an area of 8,260 sq km, Crete is 260 km long, 56 km at its widest point and12 km at its narrowest point. It is Greece’s largest island that separates the Aegean from the eastern basin of the Mediterranean Sea.
- There are three mountain ranges in Crete: Dicte in the east, Ida in the centre, and the White Mountains in the west.
- Over 50% of Crete is located at an altitude of more than 500 meters.
- At an altitude of 850 meters, the Lassithi Plateau is the largest flat area of Crete.
- There are more than 200 gorges and over 5.000 recorded caves in Crete.
- The gorge of Samaria is one of the largest in Europe.
- Gourgouthaka in the White Mountains is the deepest cave in Greece and 44th deepest in the world. Featuring an impressive depth of 1.208 m, it is one of the 84 caves on the planet which are deeper than 1.000 meters.
- The Cretan coastline is 1.046 km.
- In 365 BC a catastrophic earthquake raised the western part of Crete up to 9 meters.
- There are 34 islands around Crete (larger than 100 acres).
- The highest mountain is Psiloritis at 2.456 meters.
- Every 1,000 years Crete grows 1 cm thanks to the Sahara dust brought by the southern winds.
- Swallows remain all year round in southern Crete.
- Crete’s distance from Africa is almost as much as it is from Europe.
- There are over 1.750 species of plants,160 of them endemic.
- There are over 30,000,000 olive trees. Estimated to be over 3.000 years old, the Olive tree of Vouves in the municipal unit of Kolymvari in Chania is one of the oldest olive trees in the world, and still produces olives today.
These facts about Crete are merely indicative of the incredible treasures this island has. If you’re coming to Crete for your next holiday, start by checking a comfortable and cosy place to stay because you will be exhausted by the end of the day after so many amazing adventures.
Located at the heart of the vibrant, seaside resort of Agia Marina -Platanias and just 9 km from the iconic town of Chania, the Oscar Suites & Village is your characterful springboard for all sorts of exciting escapades. Our family-friendly hotel boasts a wide variety of apartments and studios in Platanias as well as a luxurious sea view, jacuzzi suite, to suit all needs and whims. Make yourselves comfortable and start enjoying life on our sun-dappled island. Ask us for tips and advice on how to make the most out of your stay in Crete and stay tuned to our blog for insights and ideas.