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Crete

kriti mpalos smallOne of the great advantages of Crete is that it is a large and unified (administration-wise) area, rich in local produce and world famous as a tourist destination, so there is a great deal of informative material on every topic you can imagine.
The Regional Administration of Crete has edited a full guide of the island at the link www.incrediblecrete.gr 

Basic General Info : Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the 88th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after SicilySardiniaCyprus, and Corsica. Crete and a number of surrounding islands and islets constitute the Region of Crete, one of the 13 top-level administrative units of Greece. The capital and the largest city is Heraklion. As of 2011, the region had a population of 623,065.

Crete forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece, while retaining its own local cultural traits (such as its own poetry and music). It was once the centre of the Minoan civilisation (c. 2700–1420 BC), which is the earliest known civilisation in Europe. The palace of Knossos lies in Crete (more in wikipedia).
 

crete idaprojectGEOGRAPHY :
Crete is located in the southern part of the Aegean Sea separating the Aegean from the Libyan Sea. It lies approximately 160 km (99 mi) south of the Greek mainland.
The island has an elongated shape: it spans 260 km (160 mi) from east to west, is 60 km (37 mi) at its widest point, and narrows to as little as 12 km (7.5 mi) (close to Ierapetra). Crete covers a coastline of 1,046 km (650 mi) with many prize-awarded beaches.

Heraklion is the largest city and capital of Crete. The principal cities are:
Heraklion (Iraklion or Candia) (173,993 inhabitants), Chania (Haniá) (108,642 inhabitants), Rethymno (34,300 inhabitants),
Ierapetra (23,707 inhabitants), Agios Nikolaos (19,462 inhabitants), Sitia (14,338 inhabitants)

ΚΛΙΜΑ :
Crete straddles two climatic zones, the Mediterranean and the North African, mainly falling within the former. As such, the climate in Crete is primarily Mediterranean. The atmosphere can be quite humid, depending on the proximity to the sea, while winter is fairly mild. Snowfall is common on the mountains between November and May, but rare in the low-lying areas. While some mountain tops are snow-capped for most of the year, near the coast snow only stays on the ground for a few minutes or hours. However, a truly exceptional cold snap swept the island in February 2004, during which period the whole island was blanketed with snow. During the Cretan summer, average temperatures reach the high 20s-low 30s Celsius (mid 80s to mid 90s Fahrenheit), with maxima touching the upper 30s-mid 40s.(see. more).

ECONOMY:
The economy of Crete is predominantly based on services and tourism. However, agriculture also plays an important role and Crete is one of the few Greek islands that can support itself independently without a tourism industry. The economy began to change visibly during the 1970s as tourism gained in importance. Although an emphasis remains on agriculture and stock breeding, because of the climate and terrain of the island, there has been a drop in manufacturing, and an observable expansion in its service industries (mainly tourism-related).
All three sectors of the Cretan economy (agriculture/farming, processing-packaging, services), are directly connected and interdependent. The island has a per capita income much higher than the Greek average, whereas unemployment is at approximately 4%, one-sixth of that of the country overall.

CRETAN CUISINE: 
The island of Crete had attracted the attention of the scientific community as early as 1948, when researchers from the Rockefeller Foundation of the United States were summoned by the Greek Government in an attempt to improve, in the post-war era, the “bad” living conditions of the Cretan population. Within this framework, a detailed assessment of the Cretan diet was performed, and –to the surprise of the researchers– it proved to be nutritionally sufficient, with only a few exceptions which were limited to areas with a very low income and very limited food production by the families themselves (Allbaugh et al. 1953).
In general, the researchers concluded that “in total, the way of nutrition and the nutritional habits were very well adapted to the natural and economic resources of the area, as well as to the needs of its inhabitants”.
You can read more about the Cretan Diet in the website of the "Agronutritional Cooperation of Crete", while more information is given in wikipedia about "Cretan Cuisine" and many other sources.

HISTORY:
The History of Crete goes back to the 7th millennium BC, preceding the ancient Minoan civilization by more than four millennia. The Minoan civilization was the first civilization in Europe and the first, in Europe, to build a palace.
After the Minoan civilization was devastated by the Thera eruption, Crete developed an Ancient Greece-influenced organization of city states, then successively became part of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Venetian Republic, the Ottoman Empire, autonomous state, and the modern state of Greece (see more in the dedicated wikipedia link "History of Crete")

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