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History, nature come together on Crete

August 25, 2011 - 2:25am
History, nature come together on Crete
The largest and most populous Greek island, Crete has a history dating as far back as 2,700 B.C. Plus, with a multitude of beautiful beaches, it's not hard to see why the island is a popular vacation spot.

Though it has always played a vital role in Greek history, Crete is best known for being the center of the Minoan civilization. Perhaps the most impressive remaining artifacts from the time period are housed at Knossos, the largest Bronze age Architectural site on the island.

Among the highlights of Knossos is the Throne Room inside the palatial complex. Built around the 15th century B.C., this ceremonial chamber features amazingly well-preserved murals and alabaster benches.

Although the impressive historical sites are a large part of Crete, its beautiful coast is what draws many visitors. In particular, the palm beach at Vai is not only home to stunning shoreline, but also has the largest natural palm forest in Europe.

In addition to palm beach at Vai, the island also contains numerous natural features including the famous Samaria National Park, which provides nature enthusiasts with up to 16 kilometers of gorgeous hiking trails.