Crete has been loved by many people, who have been studied it or visited it during the centuries. Some have considered it as the most beautiful island of the world, a miniature continent. Homer refers to it as a gaia (land, country) and not as an island, bearing in mind its extent and significance. Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle regarded Crete as an example of state and legislative organization, an ark of ancient values. In our days, its tourist resorts are swarmed by millions of tourists. However, there are some niches, secret and quiet places, reliable for those who approach them with respect and wonder.
The beauty of Crete is a result of the simultaneous co-existence of natural and cultural environment. In Crete there are mountainous ranges resembling the Alps, deserts and small jungles, but also regions with almost arctic or almost tropical climate. One can rarely meet this variety of landscape in a region which is relatively limited. The Cretan environment is a result of a thousand-year-old interaction between the human activity and the natural world. The material culture left by human activities is placed in a perpetual dialogue with the Cretan nature, on the ridge of this oblong “wild beast which lies in the sea”. Crete is compared to a wild beast by the most distinguished of its children, Nikos Kazatzakis; a beast agatho (decent), good, bright. In one of his books he points out: “Crete was the first that was lightened than the rest dark Europe. And here the soul of Greece accomplished its target: it brought god to human’s scale”.
Many significant Cretologists have worked hard in order today to know the landscape of Crete and its great civilisation, which has been created here, and has formed the foundation of the classical Greek and European culture. The importance of Cretan civilisation has been proved by their research.
Dr Andonis Vasilakis