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Crete Panorama.jpg

Crete (Greek: Κρήτη / Kríti, sometimes spelled "Krete" in English) is the largest of the Greek islands and is the fifth largest in the Mediterranean Sea - after Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, and Corsica. It is located between the Sea of Crete and the Libyan Sea, south of the Peloponnese. It contains the southernmost city within the European continent, Ierapetra, which is only about 645 km (about 400 miles) from the coast of Libya. Crete is approximately 260 km long and 60 km wide. The island is divided into four prefectures: from west to east, Chania, Rethymnon, Heraklion, and Lasithi. Crete's population is approximately 650,000.
While all Greek islands have their own charm and beauty, Crete is undoubtedly one of the most diverse, blessed with a remarkable amount of truly spectacular natural beauty and a wide variety of varied architecture that pays tribute to its ancient Minoan past and chronicles its history of conquest from the Greek mainland, the Venetian era, and the Turkish/Ottoman period.
Certainly, the island has its share of magnificent beaches and ritzy beach resorts, but there is plenty more to explore - from rugged mountain peaks (some of which remain capped with snow throughout much of the year) and breathtaking gorges to metropolitan cities and sleepy traditional villages where it is not uncommon to see donkeys carrying vegetables being led past cars and scooters. There are miles of olive trees and vineyards, palm trees, and desert-like landscapes. There are beautiful Byzantine churches and monasteries, many of which are open to visitors. There are ancient ruins scattered everywhere. In fact, just about everything that can be found anywhere in Greece can be seen here.



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