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This ruggedly beautiful island at the southern edge of the Aegean was an Ottoman province from around 1646 for over 250 years. There were Pashaliks in the main cities, based in the vast Venetian fortresses at Heraklion (Iráklio), Chania (Haniá), and Réthymno, where a number of late Ottoman buildings remain. The Arkadi Monastery featured in the Cretan Revolt of 1866, and during World War II was a sanctuary for the Resistance, which was supported by British agents, notably Patrick Leigh Fermor. The island was famous in antiquity as the centre of the Minoan civilisation. Zeus, Father of the Gods, is said to have been born on Mount Ida, and many anceient myths are associated with the island, which flourished in the Minoa era, centred on Knossos, Europe's oldest known city.
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