Heraklion, also known as Iraklio, is a port city and the capital of the Greek island of Crete. It’s known for the Palace of Knossos, just outside the city. The huge archaeological site dates back thousands of years to the Minoan civilization, and includes frescoes and baths. Guarding the city’s Venetian port is the 16th-century Koules fortress. Heraklion Archaeological Museum has a large collection of Minoan art.
The city has many Venetian and Turkish fountains, including the 17th-century Morosini Fountain, surrounded by sculpted lions. The nearby Venetian Loggia, dating from the 17th century, is an ornate, 2-level arcaded building. The huge Agios Minas Cathedral was built in the late 19th century and has 2 bell towers. Much of the old city walls are still intact, including the Martinengo Bastion, just south of the center. The bastion is also the burial site of acclaimed 20th-century writer Nikos Kazantzakis. East of the city, CretAquarium houses Mediterranean Sea creatures such as stingrays, sea turtles and sand tiger sharks.