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Cities in CRETE


Popular destinations GREECE



Crete has a contrast between the agriculturally and touristically highly developed regions and the backward regions. Economic development takes place mainly in the north. As a result, the service sectors in the north are also better developed than in the sparsely populated south of the island.

The basis of the Cretan economy is goat breeding, olive growing and especially tourism. In addition, the cultivation of potatoes, almonds, cereals, grapes, southern fruits and vegetables is particularly important for the local population. In the 1970s horticulture grew in importance and cucumbers and tomatoes, for example, are exported. This horticulture takes place mainly in the southeast in greenhouses made of translucent agricultural plastic. Furthermore, Crete is one of the main exporters of olive oil and Greece consumes more than fifteen kilos of olive oil per capita. Crete is poor in cultivated land: about 25% is arable and about 50% is grazing uncultivated land. Agricultural trade sells mainly through the ports along the north coast and through the two airports at Iraklion and Chania. Agriculture employs about 45% of the labor force on as many as nearly 100,000 farms and businesses.

The livestock includes sheep and especially goats. Known, of course, is the goat cheese or "feta" and the cheese and yogurt made from the sheep. Cattle breeding is mainly concentrated in the mountainous regions. Cretan viticulture dates back to Minoan times and has also been cultivated for export. The total harvest per year is between 150,000 and 200,000 tons of grapes. Fishing is still a fairly important industry, although the Aegean Sea is severely overfished and polluted. There are fishing boats in every port.

The industrial processing of agricultural products such as olive oil and cheese (including graviera, anthotiro and mizithra) and the chemical industry (including soap) were introduced late to the island and comparatively not yet so important. This activity is mainly concentrated around the capital Iraklion and around Chania. The soil contains gypsum, iron and lignite but the quantities are too small to be exploited.

The towns on the north coast (Chania, Rethymnon, Herákleion, Hágios Nikólaos, Seteía) are connected by a highway; the connections to and along the south coast are few in number and often of poor quality.

There are airports at Chanía, Herákleion and Seteía. The connection by boat with the mainland of Greece is mainly in the hands of the ANEK, a company entirely in Cretan hands.


Buma, H. / Reishandboek Kreta

Hendriksen, B. / Kreta
Babylon-De Geus

Lubsen-Admiraal, S.M. / Kreta

Strijbos, E. / Kreta

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Last updated April 2024
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