You are on page 1of 10

Heraklion

etwinning project 2018


Maria Kyrezi, Maria Panagiotaki, Eufraimia
Chouma, Maria Maniadaki
Heraklion is the capital of Crete and one of the Mediterranean region's most
fascinating and vibrant cities. It is full of places to discover. With the current efforts to
open up the wonderful mediaeval city centre, it speaks to us of a past full of history
and great events that reflect its location at the crossroads of three continents.
The city is also the commercial and technological centre of the island. It has a
strategic geopolitical position in the south-eastern Mediterranean Sea connecting
three continents and many different cultures.
It offers a wealth of museums, a summer-long arts festival, historical sightseeing,
amazing nightlife and events throughout the year. Whatever the purpose of your visit,
your stay in Heraklion will be one to remember.
• Everyone who has grown up in Heraklion knows that the square of the
Morosini Fountain is the Lions Square. However, our municipal
authorities decided to make our lives difficult by naming it Eleftheriou
Venizelou Square, honouring the Cretan statesman and later Prime
Minister of Greece who played a leading role in the struggle for the
Union of Crete with Greece.

• Eleftheriou Venizelou Square (Lions Square) is one of the busiest parts


of Heraklion. It is never quiet, unfolding its various aspects 24 hours a
day, 365 days a year. This is where travellers who arrive in Heraklion
by ferry at dawn come for a bougatsa cream pie, while they wait for
the city to wake up. Later, through the course of the day thousands of
locals and tourists will cross the square, stare at the fountain, check
out the shops, sit at a café, eat something quick, or visit an exhibition
in the Basilica of St Mark.
As night falls, the Lions Square becomes the rendezvous point for
groups of young people ready for a night on the town. The same groups
will end up at the souvlaki shops and other fast-food joints after
midnight, to settle their alcohol-filled stomachs with something on the
hoof. Winter and summer, in hot or cold weather, the bustle of the
square never stops.
Fontana Morosini
The Fontana Morosini, the famous fountain of the lions, was the work of
Francesco Morosini .The fountain was constructed not for aesthetic purposes
but to bring unlimited drinking water to thirsty Heraklion. Heraklion had no
springs, and its inhabitants used wells and rainwater cisterns.
Thanks to Morosini, however, water from Archanes on Mt Juktas reached
Heraklion along a 15-kilometre-long aqueduct. The work took 14 months to
complete and the fountain was inaugurated on 25 April 1628, the feast of St
Mark, patron saint of Venice.
The basin of the fountain stands on a circular base and is composed of eight lobes,
making it easier for many people to fill their water-jars simultaneously. About five
people could dip their jars in the fountain at each lobe.
The lobes of the fountain are decorated with scenes from Greek mythology carved
in relief, mainly Tritons, dolphins and nymphs, mythical water beings. At the centre of
each lobe were the coats of arms of the Doge, the Duke, the Councillors and Morosini
himself.
At the centre of the fountain, on a high octagonal pedestal, sit four proud lions
with water flowing from their mouths. The lion is not an animal usually found on
fountains, as it is not connected to water, but in this case it was used as the symbol of
Venetian power.
At the top of the fountain was a colossal marble statue of Poseidon with his trident,
the masterpiece of a local artist. The statue is now lost, and we do not know when it was
removed or destroyed.
Basilica of Saint Mark
The Basilica of Saint Mark is one of the most important Venetian monuments in
Heraklion. It is directly opposite the Lions Fountain in the centre of Heraklion. Today
it houses the Municipal Art Gallery and is open to the public almost all day, every day.
From the first years of Venetian rule, in the 13th century (1239), the Venetians,
wishing to consolidate their rule over their new colony of Candia and simultaneously
express their gratitude to and love of their home, built a basilica dedicated to their
patron saint, St Mark.
This was where the official ceremonies of the Venetian administration were held,
and where the Venetian nobles were buried.
The Basilica of Saint Mark was plain in section with a covered portico, much like
the building we see today. The Society for Cretan Historical Studies restored the building
to its original form in 1956.
The Basilica of Saint Mark has managed to survive the various earthquakes which
have shaken Heraklion over the centuries, with only a few minor repairs.
Thank you for your attention!

Related Interests