Crete is the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean and the largest of the islands forming part of modern Greece. It is relatively long and narrow, stretching for 160 miles (260 km) on its east-west axis and varying in width from 7.5 to 37 miles (12 to 60 km).
A melting pot of cultures from Europe, Asia, and Africa, Crete is where the first European civilization—the Minoan—thrived. Minoan remains and sites are found at Knossos (Knosós or Cnossus), Phaestus (Phaestos), and numerous other locations throughout the island. The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion (Irákleio) contains a collection of most of the Minoan civilization’s major artifacts; other Minoan remains are housed in regional museums, whereas remnants of Hellenic, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian, and Turkish structures found virtually everywhere are reminders of other periods of Crete’s rich history.www.britannica.co