The historical aspect of the city of Heraklion, which is also known as Megalo Kastro (= big castle) since the period of the Turkish occupation, reaches out to the visitor of today through the Venetian and the Turkish monuments.
Heraklion is well-known for having the largest fortifications in Eastern Mediterranean, for the fountains that can be spotted at the most unlikely corners of the city, for the imposing churches, and for some of the most impressive buildings of the Venetian period to be found in the whole of Crete.
Heraklion had been fortified already in the years of the First Byzantine period (330-840 AD). These fortifications were supplemented by the Arabs (840-961), the Byzantines (961-1204), and the Venetians, after 1211.
The fortification works conducted by the Venetians in the city of Heraklion also included defensive works at the port. Two fortresses were built at the end of each pier, however only the largest one, the so-called Koules, survives today.
The road which connects the port with Saint Mark’s square, on which the palatial mansion of the Venetian Duke was built, was already the most important street of the city already in the Venetian period.