Crete's Heraklion (Iraklion) Prefecture Overview Page Three
Heraklion Capital of Crete
Getting Around & Banking in Heraklion
There are three intercity bus stations. To go east to Malia, Aghios Nikolaos, Ierapetra, Sitia, etc. go to Station A on the waterfront between 25 Avgoustou and the harbor. Opposite this station is the one for Rethymno and Hania to the west. Station B, just past the Hania Gate, services Phaestos, Ayia Galini and Matala.
The national Greek tourist office (EOT) is at Xanthoudidou 1, just north of Platia Eleftherias. Maps and ferry/bus schedules are available there. 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, and weekends as well during high season. Banks are on 25 Avgoustou (most of them) and the National Bank of Greece has a round-the-clock cash machine as does Alpha Bank.
The Heraklion Museum is the second most important museum in Greece (after Athens) and receives its own section please click the link above or use the main horizontal menu from any Harry's Greece Travel Guide page.
Just back from the waterfront opposite the Xenia Hotel is the Historical Museum of Crete in which can be seen the reconstructed library/study of Nikos Kazantzakis, as well as that of the former Greek prime minister and statesman Emanel Tsouderos. Left, they called these Cycladic figures because they were also found on Milos, Santorini and on other Cyclades islands but apparently they originated here in Crete!
In a room by itself is the sole painting painting on the island of Crete of Domenikos Theotokopoulos A.K.A. El Greco (photo right bust of), - Imaginary View of Mount Sinai and the Monastery of St. Catherine (c.1576). It is also one of his few landscapes (as such were not terribly marketable in the Spain and Italy of that time where he lived and worked). (Platia Kornarou's Bembo drinking fountain above right)
In the historical museum there are folk costumes, photographs, charts, ceramics, coins, jewelry, fragments from frescoes of the 13th and 14th centuries . There are also artifacts from early Christian times, as well as eighteenth century Turkish frescoes of fantasy towns; a Venetian wall fountain made up of tiny ships' prows; finds from Venetian churches; portraits of Cretan revolutionaries; wonderful red weaving's and embroideries that exemplify the artistry of Cretans during Ottoman times. (admission 3 euros; 9am-5pm Mon-Fri; 9am-2pm Sat. summer; 9am-3pm Mon-Sat winter).
Near a small plat ia near Plat ia Venezuela, is the Byzantine church (left) of Aghios Titos, adapted by the Turks as a mosque but re consecrated as a church in 1925. Near the same platia are also found the Venetian loggia (where male aristocrats gathered), and the church of San Marco both of which often house exhibitions or crafts shows. One can view a collection of icons in the church of Agia Ekaterina (Mon-Fri. 9:30 am-02:30 pm ; 1.50 euro), including those of a near-contemporary and mentor of El Greco, Mihail Damaskinos.
Natural History Museum (June-Sept. daily 9am-7pm; 1.50). The geological evolution of the island is shown in some of its exhibits, with the arrivals of humans and a depiction of the environment during Minoan times. This museum is on the road to Knossos . Bus #2 from Platia Elevtherias (get out at the Pagritio School stop).
Battle of Crete Museum Corner of Doukos Beaufort and Hatzidaki; free, 9am-1pm daily. Historic battle is chronicled with letters, photos, weapons, uniforms.