Iráklion (ēräˈklēôn) [key] or Candia kănˈdēə, city (1991 pop. 116,178), capital of Crete governorate and Iráklion prefecture, N Crete, Greece, a port on the Sea of Crete. It is the largest city on Crete and ships wine, olive oil, raisins, and almonds. Tourism is especially important to the city. Iráklion was founded (9th cent.) by the Muslim Saracens. In 961 it was conquered by the Byzantine emperor Nicephorus II, and in the 13th cent. it became a Venetian colony. The Venetians, who named the city Candia, fortified it and improved its port. In 1669 it was captured by the Ottoman Turks after a two-year siege. It was the capital of Crete until 1841, and in 1913 it passed to Greece. Iráklion has a museum of Minoan antiquities that were excavated at the site of ancient Knossos, just outside the city. Among Iráklion's historic monuments are a cathedral, several mosques, and remains of Venetian walls and fortifications.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Greek Political Geography