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Crete's largest city, Heraklion remains best known for its proximity to a sprawling Bronze Age archaeological site, once the center of a vanished Minoan civilization. Founded by Arab raiders sometime in the 9th century, Heraklion swapped its rulers several times over the centuries, eventually coming under Venetian and then Ottoman control. Before retreating, the successive conquerors left an indelible mark on the city's architecture of medieval fortifications, Byzantine churches, and lavish fountains. The birthplace of El Greco, modern Heraklion is a densely populated city infamous for its traffic congestion. Take a break from the big port city and its throngs of tourists by exploring the ancient sites located just a short drive from the busy coastline. Plan your tour of Heraklion and Greece travel itinerary using our Greece travel route planner.
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