EnglishGreekDeutschFrenchItalianRussian
Crete TOURnet: Home Crete Guide Crete Geography Iraklio Prefecture

Iraklio Prefecture

Bull's Horns in the palace of Knossos
Bull's Horns in the palace of Knossos
The prefecture of Iraklion is the largest in area, has the greatest population and the highest per capita income of Crete. There are seven provinces (eparhies) in this prefecture: Malevizi, Temenos, and Pediada on the north coast and Pirgiotisa, Kainourio, Monofatsi, and Viannos in the centre and on the south coast. The main cities are Iraklion, Limin Hersonisou, Timbaki, Ano Viannos, Matala, and Mires.
The northwestern area of the prefecture of Iraklion is comprised of the three provinces of Malevizi, Temenos, and Pediada. The main city is Iraklion. This area is the largest of grape - producing areas of Crete and its main products are sultana raisins, Malevizi (Malmsey) wine, and table grapes (Rosaki). In these valleys Sir Arthur Evans, the British archaeologist, excavated the Minoan Palace of Knossos, the remains of a great civilization.
A low mountain range rises in the middle of the prefecture and descends into the Mesara Plain. These fertile plains have been cultivated for thousands of years and have important Minoan, Greek, and Roman archaeological sites -- Festos, Agia Triada, and Gortyn are the major ones. The imposing peak of Psiloritis, 2,456 metres above sea level, is visible from almost all points of the prefecture of Iraklion. It is especially impressive during the winter months when it is snow-capped.
The prefecture of Iraklion has many cultural and historical features to offer the visitor. The finest collection of Minoan artefacts in the world and the sites of one of history's greatest civilizations may be of interest as well as the numerous Byzantine churches and Venetian castles and fountains.
The historical aspects combine with the scenic landscapes of mountains, valleys, and sea to make this a beautiful and fascinating area. The beaches of Agia Pelagia and Limin Hersonisou on the north coast and Matala and Kali Limenes on the south coast will attract the visitor with their warm, clear seas. There are many fine restaurants and tavernas offering Cretan specialities throughout the area.
The eastern part of the Iraklion prefecture has some major resorts near the sea (Limin Hersonisou), some major archaeological sites (Malia), and many important Byzantine churches.
The southern area of the prefecture of Iraklion includes the four provinces of Pirgiotisa, Kainourio, Monofatsi, and Viannos. The most prominent physical feature here is the Pediada Mesaras. It stretches east from Timbaki to Ano Viannos. The plain is between the low mountain ranges of the south and north. The main products of Mesara are cereals, olives, and fruits. and cultivation goes on year-round, aided by the use of hothouses to increase productivity.

Photos of Iraklio Prefecture:


The pithari and the chests in the storerooms, Knossos
The pithari and the chests in the storerooms, Knossos
The Mesara Plain
The Mesara Plain
The famous Code of Gortyn from the 5C B.C., Gortyn
The famous Code of Gortyn from the 5C B.C., Gortyn
The bay and village of Agia Pelagia, Iraklion
The bay and village of Agia Pelagia, Iraklion
Agios Fanourios Church, Varsamonero Monastery
Agios Fanourios Church, Varsamonero Monastery
The exquisite gold pendant from Malia
The exquisite gold pendant from Malia
The Venetian fountain of Moni Vrondisi
The Venetian fountain of Moni Vrondisi
The Grand Staircase, Malia
The Grand Staircase, Malia
The Central Court of  Festos and the Kamares Cave of Mt. Psiloritis
The Central Court of Festos and the Kamares Cave of Mt. Psiloritis
The town of Limin Hersonisou and its anchorage
The town of Limin Hersonisou and its anchorage
Snake Goddess from Knossos
Snake Goddess from Knossos
Bull's Horns in the palace of Knossos
Bull's Horns in the palace of Knossos