Crete has a rich history. From the Minoans through Roman, Turkish and German occupation to the present day democracy, traces of Cretan history are all over the island: the archaeological site of Knossos and Festus, Byzantine churches and monasteries, Venetian and neo-classical architecture, even minarets and mosques.
Cretan music and traditional dances play an important role in the life in Crete and will be seen and heard at most festivals and parties.
Crete today is very different from Crete 20 years ago. Integration and modernization of the EU has had a huge impact on the local culture and attitudes.
The youth of today are largely independent and well-educated. The girls, like the boys, it is recommended to study and go to university. Boys are required to pass the National Service at the age of 18 years, or after they finish college or university. The family is still important for the Cretans and ties remain strong.
There is, however, the contrast between urban and rural life. Many villages still retain the old way of life – men Kafeynyah sipping Greek coffee or a drink raki and women gather around their houses, engaged in knitting or just socialize. This is mainly older people, the younger generation prefer the cafe on the waterfront.
Tourism is also left its mark on the life of the island. Parts of the North Coast, in particular, coastal villages have expanded and became the largest resort.
But the famous Cretan hospitality is still very well known, and this is true. Do not be surprised if the friendly neighbors will bring you fresh produce, home-grown vegetables and fruits.
Most of the national culture revolves around the Greek Orthodox Church, which plays an important role in everyday life and the cultural traditions of the Cretans and 97 percent of the population are Orthodox. Religious holidays are strictly enforced; some are designated as national holidays and some are celebrated with colorful festivals.