Monday, May 6, 2013

Irakleon Venetian History

After church, we explored some of the historical bits of Irakleon. The harbor area still shows signs of the Venetian influence on Crete, with a fort and several arsenals.

The Venetian part of the port

More modern machines

The fort, called Koules by the locals, was made to defend the port. It is impressively solid, made of yellow stone with walls several feet thick. Some scant decorations show its connection to Venice. The winged lion of St. Mark (Patron of Venice) is seen on each wall, including the sea-side wall, where it bares its teeth in warning.

Pier to the fort

Cannon hole

Sea-ward side

The Venetians called it Rocca al Mare or the Rock in the Sea, symbolic of its use as a defensive fortification. When we visited it was under reconstruction and we could not go inside.

No entry, alas!

Prosoke! Danger!

Many bikers and joggers went past us, so it must be popular to run out to the end of the rocky pier and back again. The weather was sunny but windy.

End of the pier

Too cool to run!

Across the bay are several Arsenali. These tall stone arches were buildings where ships could be constructed or repaired. The arches were built in the 1500s for the Venetian galley fleet.


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