FELA-Crete2024: 23rd European Conference on Literacy & 7th Panhellenic Literacy Conference

About Crete

Crete is the largest island in Greece and the fifth largest in the Mediterranean. It is endowed with an exquisite 1,000-kilometer-long coastline dotted with numerous coves, bays and peninsulas, which afford a multitude of soft, sandy beaches along the infinite blue of the Mediterranean Sea. The island is proud for its longstanding history, spanning from the Minoan civilization (3000 B.C.) until today. Crete welcomes you with its smiling Cretan sun, the sounds of the Cretan lyre, the scents of orange blossom and jasmine, a slice of cool red watermelon and a glass of iced “raki”. 

Some important archaeological sites of Crete:

   The Palace of Knossos

According to tradition, it was the seat of King Minos and the capital of his state. The palace of Knossos is associated with the exciting myths “the Labyrinth and the Minotaur” and “Daedalus and Icarus”. References to Knossos, its palace and Minos are made by Homer (the list of ships in Ilias mentions that Crete sent 80 ship under the command of the King of Knossos, Idomeneus, the Odyssey, T 178-9), Thucydides (reference to Minos), Isiodus and Herodotus, Bacchylides and Pindarus, Plutarchus and Diodorus the Sicilian. The city flourished in the Minoan Times (2000 – 1350 B.C.), when it was the most important and populated centre of Crete. It also played an important role and was particularly prosperous in later periods, like the Hellenistic Times. The city of Knossos was constantly populated from the end of the 7th millennium to the Roman Times. In the Neolithic Times there was a stage of technologically developed agricultural life (stone tools and weaving weights). The residents turned from food-collectors into producers (farmers and shepherds) and a there was a trend towards more systematic and permanent settlement. The settlement periods in Knossos succeeded each other and the population of the settlement at the end of the Late Neolithic Period is estimated at 1.000 – 2.000 residents. 

  The Palace of Phaistos 

Phaistos is built on a low hill (altitude of about 100m from sea level), in the south of river Geropotamos (ancient river Lithaios), and dominates the fertile valley of Kato Mesara, which is surrounded by imposing mountains (Psiloritis, Asterousia, Lasithi Mountains). The Libyan Sea extends in the south. Lithaios surrounds the hill of Phaistos in the east and the north and was a source of water supply for the city. The mild and warm climate of the area made the life of its residents comfortable and pleasant. Phaistos was one of the most important centres of the Minoan civilization, and the most wealthy and powerful city of southern Crete. It is mentioned in the texts of ancient writers (Diodorus, Stravon, Pausanius) and Homer. It is one of the three important cities founded in Crete by Minos. According to mythology, the dynasty of Rodamanthus, the son of Zeus and brother of Minos, reigned in it. Homer refers to its participation in the Trojan War and describes it as a “well populated” city. The period of prosperity in Phaistos began with the coming of the Bronze Age in Crete in the middle of the 3rd millennium B.C., when the foundations of the Minoan civilization were laid. Habitation in Phaistos started in the Neolithic period, as revealed by the foundations of Neolithic houses, tools, statuettes and potsherds discovered under the palace during the excavations. The Neolithic settlement is believed to have covered the top of the hill and its southwestern slope. In the middle of the 3rd millennium B.C. the use of metals began, which favoured the development of the city.

The main cities of Crete:

The major cities of Crete were once strategically placed on specific coastal locations of the island to defend against invaders. With a history that starts in prehistoric times and harbours that have always connected the island with other ports of the Mediterranean, the Cretan cities today are modern urban centres that have kept the historical identity of the island alive after countless conquerors have called it their own. In the Middle Ages, the island of Crete passed from the Byzantines to the Arabs, back to the Byzantines and then to Venetians; each one introducing different architectural and cultural elements. Every summer, Crete welcomes thousands of visitors that wish to explore the cities, charming harbours and cultural attractions that seem to be present on every corner.

Discover Crete through the following websites:



Scroll to Top