Heraklion (Ηράκλειο) is the biggest city on the island of Crete (Κρήτη). Unlike the other cities on the island, namely Chania and Rethymno, Heraklion is not a beautiful city. I would dare to say it is ugly. The problem is the uncontrolled and anarchic reconstruction of the city during the second half of the 20th century. The city has been expanded to accommodate the continuous increase of population and the hordes of tourists arriving by air or by the sea every year.
The city has some of the most impressive medieval fortification, but almost nothing has been left of the glorious 16th century venetian city itself. The old houses and public buildings have been demolished without an organized plan and tall residential blocks emerged in the narrow, winding streets of the labyrinthian medieval city plan.
During the last years, an effort has been done to beautify the center of the city and highlight the few old public buildings left. Thus, nice little spots have been emerged here and there and the city center has a relaxed atmosphere, a very rich culinary scene and a coffee culture that can rival any other worldwide.