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Crete is the largest of all Greek islands with a total surface of 8,336 km², 1,100 km of coastline and approximately 600,000 inhabitants. Crete is also considered to be one of the most prosperous areas in Greece. Development on the island has been favoured by its geographical location, climate and diverse natural beauty, as well as its unique cultural and historical heritage. Crete is renowned for its breathtaking mountain ranges and long sandy beaches and clear blue seas. The climate and geography of Crete favour many different species of wildlife. Over 100 different kinds of flowers and plants can be found on the island, scattered in the high mountains and the thirteen deep gorges (the most famous being the Samaria gorge).
The Venetian fortress “Koules” dominates the entrance to the Venetian port of Heraklion. The Venetians used to call it “sea fortress” (aka Castello Mare or Rocca Mare), but today it is known by its Turkish name “Koules”, which stands for water-tower. This fortress is one of the most famous and beloved monuments of Crete, and the symbol of the city of Heraklion. Today, Fortress Koules, proudly looking over the sea, reminds us of the glory of the Venetian Chandax and the courageous Cretan rebels who had been tortured in its moist and dark cells. Knossos, the famous Minoan Palace, lies 5 kilometres south-east of Heraklion, in the valley of the Kairatos river. The river rises in Archanes, runs through Knossos and reaches the sea at Katsabas, the Minoan harbour of Knossos.
The mythical realm of King Minos, blessed by the Gods of the sun and the sea, is today as proud as a fortress and as welcoming as an embrace. It is also home to a sumptuous palace that makes an ideal destination for any type of holiday. At the Aldemar Knossos Royal, time moves at a different pace: in elegant and comfortable rooms with incomparable views, in the azure sea and crystal-clear pools, at superb sports facilities and matchless restaurants, the pleasure and relaxation never end.