(Sources: GNTO, Wikipedia and various publications)
Heraklion or Iraklion (Greek: ?????e??, Irákleio, IPA: [i’?aklio?]; Venetian: Candia), is the largest city and capital of Crete. It is also the fourth largest city in Greece. Its name is also spelled Herakleion, a transliteration of the ancient Greek and Katharevousa name, ?????e???, or Iraklio, among other variants. For centuries it was known as Candia, a Venetian adaptation of the earlier Greek name ???da? or ???da?a?, which in turn came from the Arabicrab? al-?andaq. Under the Ottoman Empire, it was called Kandiye. In the local vernacular, it is often called ??st?? (Kástro, “castle”) and its inhabitants ?ast????? (Kastrinoí, “castle dwellers”).
Heraklion is the capital of Heraklion Prefecture, with an international airport named after the writer Nikos Kazantzakis. The ruins of Knossos, which were excavated and restored by Arthur Evans, are also nearby.
Heraklion International Airport, or Nikos Kazantzakis Airport, is located about 5 km east of the city. The airport is named after Herkalion native Nikos Kazantzakis, a Greek writer and philosopher. It is the second busiest airport in Greece, mostly due to the fact that Crete is a major destination for tourists during summer. There are regular domestic flights to and from Athens, Thessaloniki and Rhodes, with Aegean Airlines and Olympic Airlines. Also flying to and from Athens is Athens Airways, whereas Cyprus Airways and Aegean Airlines fly to Larnaca. Furthermore, Sky Express operates direct flights to Aegean islands such as Rhodes, Santorini, Samos, Kos, Mytilini and Ikaria. During the summer period, traffic is intense and the flight destinations are from all over Europe (mostly Germany, UK, Italy and Russia). The airfield is shared with the 126 Combat Group of the Hellenic Air Force. The take-off in the western direction leads directly over the town of Heraklion, which makes it a very noisy city.
European route E75 runs through the city and connects Heraklion with the three other major cities of Crete: Agios Nikolaos, Hania, and Rethymno.