Crete krēt [key], Gr. Kríti, island (1991 pop. 539,938), c.3,235 sq mi (8,380 sq km), SE Greece, in the E Mediterranean Sea, c.60 mi (100 km) from the Greek mainland. The largest of the Greek islands, it extends c.160 mi (260 km) from east to west and marks the southern limit of the Aegean Sea, the southern part of which is also called the Sea of Crete. The rocky northern coast of Crete is deeply indented, and the interior is largely mountainous, culminating in Mt. Ida (8,058 ft/2,456 m). Iráklion is the capital of the Crete governorate and is the island's largest city; Khaniá is the only other large city.
Crete has many small farms, whose chief crops are grains, olives, and oranges, and food processing is its main industry. Sheep, goats, and dairy cattle are also raised. The island has few mineral deposits, but tourism is an increasingly important industry. Transportation facilities include a developed highway system and an airport.
Sections in this article:
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Greek Political Geography