Heraklion prefecture rests between the mountains Psiloreitis and Dihti, is the most populated in Crete, and its administrative and commercial centre. In the region developed the more important centres of the Minoan civilization like Knossos and Phaistos.
The city of Heraklion is inhabited since the pre-historic years and is considered that it was the harbor of Knossos. Later it was named Chandakas because of a ditch that the Arabs made when they occupied Crete. It took its current name in 1922. Heraklion was destroyed almost completely by the Germans in the 2nd World war and was rebuilt in such a way that the modern city has a circulatory problem and minimal green.
Nevertheless Heraklion is a modern commercial and tourist center with important academic community and intense tourist activity.
In Herakleion city
- The Venetian harbour, next to the modern port, and the Castle of Koyle in the entry of the Venetian harbour with the jetty that begins from the Koyle and is extended in the modern port too.
- the Venetian domed shipyard with a row of big domes where galleys came in
- the city walls one of the most important projects of the Venetians with length of 4 km. They had seven bastions and four gates, two of which are saved until today with more interesting the Chanioporta or Gate of the Pantocrator.
- the temple of Saint Titos. Initially it was a Byzantine temple, renovated from the Venetians in the 16th century, and was converted into a mosque from the Turks while later was destroyed by an earthquake and rebuild again using the old foundations in 1872.
- Lotzia in the square of Saint Titos, an important Venetian monument that today accommodates the Town hall.
- the temple of Saint Mark build form Venetians and was used by the dukes. The Turks turned it into a mosque and was restored to its initial form by the company of Cretan Historical studies.
- the Archaeological museum with unique treasures from the Neolithic and Minoan periods and all the archaeological sites of the island.
In the prefecture
- Knossos, center of the Minoan culture. In Knossos you will see the ancient city with the palaces, the royal mansion, graves etc.
- Ancient city Amnisos near the village Chani Kokkini
- Phaistos. The Minoan palace, ruins of a Minoan villa, the domed tombs etc.
- Archanes. A Minoan sanctuary, the ancient city and mansion
- Ancient Gortys. One of the most powerful cities of Doric Crete. On the site were found the ancient acropolis, ancient theater, a temple of Apollo, temples of Egyptian gods, ancient markets and others.
- The ruins of ancient Lytto near Kasteli.
- Komo, that used to be the port of Phaistos and Gortys
- Ancient Levian in Lenta area
- The archaeological site in Malia (Minoan Palace, graveyard)
- in Chani Kokkini the Minoan Palace of Nirou.
- Tylissos. Remainings of Minoan mansions
- in Kamares a cave where important Minoan vessels were found
- In Fodele the house where El Greco was born
There are many monasteries and Byzantine churches with most important:
- Valsamonerou monastery in Kamares with 15th century wall paintings
- Vrontisiou monastery (14th century) in Zaro
- St. George Gorgolaini monastery in Asites
- in Peza, the monastery of St. George Epanosifi with valuable jewels
- the monastery of Virgin Kardiotissa (12th century) with Byzantine icons
- Monastery Koudouma in Pyrgos
- in Venerato the monastery of Paliani
- the monastery Savvathianon in Agia Pelagia