Crete island, Greece
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, and the fifth-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, and Corsica.
Crete and a number of surrounding islands and islets constitute the region of Crete, one of the 13 top-level administrative units of Greece.
The capital and the largest city is Heraklion.
As of 2011, the region had a population of 623,065.
Crete forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece, while retaining its own local cultural traits (such as its own poetry and music).
It was once the centre of the Minoan civilization (c.
2700–1420 BC), which is currently regarded as the earliest recorded civilization in Europe.
The island has three significant airports, Nikos Kazantzakis at Heraklion, the Daskalogiannis airport at Chania and a smaller one in Sitia.
Crete is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Greece.
Fifteen percent of all arrivals in Greece come through the city of Heraklion (port and airport), while charter journeys to Heraklion last year made up 20% of all charter flights in Greece.
The economy of Crete is predominantly based on services and tourism.
However, agriculture also plays an important role and Crete is one of the few Greek islands that can support itself independently without a tourism industry.
The island has a per capita income much higher than the Greek average, whereas unemployment is at approximately 4%, one-sixth of that of the country overall.
As in many regions of Greece, viticulture and olive groves are significan: oranges and citrons are also cultivated.
Until recently there were restrictions on the import of bananas to Greece, therefore bananas were grown on the island, predominantly in greenhouses.
Crete straddles two climatic zones, the Mediterranean and the North African, mainly falling within the former.
As such, the climate in Crete is primarily Mediterranean.
During the Cretan summer, average temperatures reach the high 20s-low 30s Celsius (mid 80s to mid 90s Fahrenheit).
Crete is mountainous, and its character is defined by a high mountain range crossing from west to east, formed by three different groups of mountains: The White Mountains or Lefka Ori 2,452 m (8,045 ft)The Idi Range (Psiloritis 35.
82°E 2,456 m (8,058 ft) Kedros 1,777 m (5,830 ft)The Dikti Mountains 2,148 m (7,047 ft)Thripti 1,489 m (4,885 ft) The principal cities are:Heraklion (Capital of Crete), Chania, Rethymno, Agios Nikolaos, Sitia.