We can organize your private tour, arrange a licensed travel guide and make your visit in Heraklion, Crete’s capital city, a unique experience.Visiting Heraklion for the first time, the visitor nowadays may be surprised by the changes that are taking place there. Over the past years the infrastructure of the city has been improved, pedestrian streets give to the guests the opportunity to walk through the city and enjoy the monuments.
These changes create the balance of the past, with the unique monuments, and of the future with a vibrant and active city, which is planning its next steps. The traditionally warm, considerate people of the city of Heraklion and the fine Venetian buildings that have been restored, the open public spaces, such as the square of Liberty or the historical center of the city, with the Square of El. Venizelos (the fountain with the Venetian Lions ) and open view over the Mediterranean sea. All of above can be part of your private tour in Heraklion
Heraklion nowadays balances between the fast moving currents of regeneration and a deep desire to maintain links with its past, its tradition. This is what defines the city of Heraklion. The ‘old town’ parts of the city, that date back to Venetian times, now offer visitors some fantastic walks in the heart of the city.
If you begin a walk together with your private tour guide around Heraklion, starting at the fishing harbor close to the modern port, what will strike you first is the Venetian fortress at the gate of the small harbor. The fortress was originally built by the Venetians and was known as Rocca al Mare, but the locals use the Turkish name which is Koules. For many centuries it was used to protect against invasions, as were the impressive city walls and moat gaps. These are among the longest city walls of Venetian cities of the Mediterranean. Nowadays you can enjoy a stroll along the beach, starting from the port, you can reach the commercial center of Talos, and then continue, following the walls till the Bastion of Martinengo (where the famous author of Zorbas the Greek was buried, N. Kazantzakis).
During your private tour in Heraklion take pictures of the Venetian Arsenals and use the pedestrian street of 25th August street to reach the Lions fountain at Venizelou sq. The street takes its name from the events of 1898 during the War against the Ottomans.
Walking up the short hill, and passing the shops and tourist offices, we reach St. Titus’ Cathedral, an impressive sight worth visiting while being on a private tour in Heraklion. Saint Titus, a fellow traveller of Saint Paul, preached the gospel in Crete during Roman rule and was martyred in Gortyn, where a 7th Century basilica stands in his memory. His church in Heraklion was built during the second Byzantine period, when it first served as the city’s cathedral. During Venetian rule, it housed the seat of the Catholic archbishop and was renovated in 1466, only to be ruined by fire in 1544. During the Turkish Occupation it served as a mosque and called Vizier Tzami, when a minaret was added, which did not survive down to the present. The present-day structure is the result of further renovations after its almost entire destruction by the devastating earthquake of 1856. The relics of St. Titus were transferred here from Venice in 1956 and have since then been kept in the narthex of the church. If St. Titus church is open during your visit, it is worth going in.
A little further and your private tourist guide will help you discover the Venetian architecture of the Loggia which functioned as a club for the nobility to gather and relax. The Loggia is a wonderful example of Venetian architecture, it was built in the 16th century and was located in the Piazza dei Signori (Square of the Administrative Authorities), and was fully renovated after the Second World War. Today, the Loggia, decorated with sculptured coat of arms, trophies and metopes, houses part of the town-hall of Heraklion.
The Basilica of St. Marcus patron saint of the Venetian is now the Municipal Art Gallery of Heraklion and often hosts art exhibitions, open to the public. Built in 1239 in the Piazza delle Biade (Square of Blades), it was at the time, the Cathedral of Crete.