Heraklion is the central city as well as the capital city of Crete, a small island in Greece. Also called Iraklio, Heraklion is one of the fastest-growing tourist hubs in Europe, and one of the most outstanding ports for ships and ferries. Tourists enjoy rides on the boats and ferries into other vacation destinations around like the Santorini and Rhodes. Heraklion is home to the Palace of Knossos, the large iconic site right on the outskirts of the city. The Palace of Knossos is traced back into the ancient years of the Minoan civilization and houses beautiful frescoes and baths that are frequented by visitors from all over the world. More of the Minoan artwork and craftwork is found preserved within the Heraklion Archaeological Museum with a deep history and cultural development exhibited. The Venetian Port is guarded by the Koules fortress, majestic grandeur of the sixteenth-century architecture. Heraklion famously features stunning Venetian and Turkish fountains that form some tourist attraction sites in the city. One such is the Morosini Fountain, which was made in the seventeenth century, complete with a ring of lion sculptures around it. Close by is the seventeenth-century Venetian Loggia, an intricately designed two-level arcade building, also quite an attraction in Heraklion. Another superbly beautiful spot is that of the mighty Agios Minas Cathedral, which was built late in the nineteenth century, complete with two outstanding bell towers. Close by, the Martinengo Bastion that is located to the south of the heart of Heraklion, found in the still intact old town. The bastion is home to the burial site of the renowned Nikos Kazantzakis, a famous twentieth-century writer. The east side of Heraklion is home to amazing aquatic animals in the CretAquarium, featuring sea turtles, tiger sharks, and the stingrays among other unique Mediterranean Sea animals. Tourists like to tour the area to take in the beauty of the animals and to learn more about them as well.
Heraklion enjoys a hot-summer Mediterranean climate. The summer is anything from warm to extremely hot, with abundant sunshine hours on most days, and an inevitable clear blue sky for the majority of the days. Occasionally there are seasonal breezes that reduce the heat on the hottest days considerably. The days may feel a lot cooler than should during summer, but it is because of the effect of the Aegean Sea. During winter, from December to February, the temperature is low, but it feels warm throughout because of the effect of the Aegean Sea. Occasional showers of rainfall are frequent during the winter season. The peak of the tourism period in Heraklion is between June and September. During this period, the weather is friendly and pleasant, and most days are warm and breezy. One of the popular events held in Heraklion is the annual Summer Arts Festival that runs from early July to late September. The festival is held in all the villages in Heraklion, and religious celebrations are held throughout. Spectators gather to enjoy and celebrate varieties of music performances, dance shows, and theatre presentations. This celebration is considered key in maintaining the traditions of Heraklion as well as a great form of entertainment for both locals and visitors.