The cultural history of Crete is
23 May 2014
The island of Crete has been inhabited since Neolithic times but it is the Minoans that
perhaps have the most famous history. The Minoan civilisation that grew on the island in the 3rd millennium BC
was renowned for its engineering and artistic brilliance. Beautiful palaces at Knossos, Phaestos, Zakros and Malia
were a testament to their ingenuity and building skills. Their influence grew through trade with Egypt and Asia
Minor, particularly because of their skill at working silver and creating pottery.
The most famous remnants of the Minoan civilisation on Crete are the palace at Knossos and the stunning frescoes
uncovered by British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans. Excavation started in 1900 and was finished by 1905. Evans
was responsible for coining the term 'Minoan'; the actual name used by the civilisation is still unknown.
Much of the Minoan civilisation was destroyed around 1450 BC by what many historians claim was a massive volcanic
eruption. Around 1400 BC the arrival of the Myceneans in Crete brought change. They defeated the Minoans and took
control of the island. The Myceneans took a lot from the civilisation that preceded them, including a form of the
Minoan script. Following on from them were the Dorians. By the 5th century BC the island was split into city states
until the arrival of the Romans.
By 67 BC all of Crete was under Roman control and Gortyna had become the capital of Cyrenaica. Following the fall
of the Romans it became part of the Byzantine Empire in 395 AD. In the 820s Iberian Muslims captured the island
and transformed it into a piratical emirate. Several wars were fought over Crete before it was retaken in 961.
It remained under Byzantine rule until 1204 and the Fourth Crusade.
Crete would eventually be acquired by the Venetians and stay under their control for over 400 years. The Kingdom
of Candia as it was known was home to a large number of fortresses but that didn't stop it from being taken by
the Ottoman Empire. The Cretan War and the siege of Candia (one of the longest sieges in history) saw the Ottomans
take ownership. They held Crete until 1898 when all Turkish forces were expelled following many years of fighting
for independence. Crete went on to officially become part of Greece with the signing of the Treaty of Bucharest
Throughout its history the island has been in a number of different hands that have left a lasting impact on the
culture. This rich culture and history is just one of the many reasons that people choose to make their homes here
by purchasing houses, villas and land where they can build the home of their dreams. If you too have fallen in
love with this unique place and wish to make your home or start a business here, we can help you to find the perfect
Crete homes and Crete land for sale, as well as helping you to navigate the many practical issues which are involved
when moving to a new location.