Although Heraklion City has been destroyed and then rebuilt many times in the course of its history, it still has a good number of monuments and sights which are worth seeing. It consists of the Old Town, enclosed by the Venetian walls, and the New Town which has spread outside these.
Chania Gate, Pantokrator Gate & Jesus Gate
The Chania Gate on the western side of the walls dates from 1570. On its inner facade a medallion containing a relief bust of Christ as the “Ruler of All” with the inscription “Omnipotent” (“Almighty”) has been preserved. It is this which has given it its alternative name of the Gate of the “Pantokrator”. Pantokrator’s Gate now hosts art & crafts exhibitions all year round.
On the outer facade there is the winged lion of St Mark in relief and above this another relief bust of the Pantokrator, with an inscription in Greek. This was the gate from which the whole of western Crete was reached. The other surviving gate is on the south side, The Jesus Gate or New Gate, dating from 1587.
Nikos Kazantzakis Tomb
Outside the walls of Heraklion, in the tower of Martinengo lies the tomb of Nikos Kazantzakis, the famous Greek writer whose books have been translated in many foreign languages. Nikos Kazantzakis was born in Heraklion in 1883 and in 1911 he left for the United States. Throughout his life he received many critics, particularly from the Church, for the messages of his books.
Church of St Titus
About midway along 25 August Str., which climbs from the harbor, is the square containing the Church of St Titus, the patron saint of Crete. Its architecture combines various Eastern and Western features, reflecting its troubled history. Here is preserved the head of St Titus, which was returned to the church in 1966 from Venice, where it was taken when Heraklion surrendered to the Turks.
Loggia of the Venetians – Town Hall
The Loggia was an essential public building in every Venetian city, and this institution was not absent even from Venice’s colonies. For Candia, Loggia is considered to be one of the most elegant architectural monuments of the Venetian period, a representative example of the palladian style. During the Venetian period, Loggia was the official meeting place of sovereigns and nobility where they discussed various topics concerning economic, commercial, and political matters. It was also used as a place where people passed their time, something like a combination of a chamber and a gentlemen’s club. The Loggia we see today is the fourth one; others that were built before this were abandoned due to their position, or were made obsolete by time.
The last Loggia was built around 1628 by the ‘General Provisioner’ Frangisko Morosini, known also by the homonymous fountain in the centre of the town. It is situated next to Armeria (the armoury where they used to keep guns and ammunition), and is a building of a rectangular type with two floors, with doric type columns on the ground floor and ionic ones on the first floor.
Cathedral of St Minas
The Cathedral of St Minas, with fine carved wood decoration and 18th century icons, and the old Church of the Presentation of Christ. Other buildings of interest include the Vikelaian Library, which is housed in the “Aktarika” Municipal building, the Public Services Building – once the Turkish barracks and now the prefecture offices and low courts – and the picturesque Public Market.
Morosini Fountain, Bembo Fountain, Delimarkou Fountain
The city has kept fountains from the Venetian period: the Morosini Fountain in Venizelou Square, the Bembo Fountain in Kornarou
Square, and the Priouli or Delimarkou Fountain in Delimarkou Str. , in the northern part of the city.