The present “character” of Heraklion Port reflects the multicultural identity of the Heraklion historical city. It is a very busy port, the third busiest in Greece. The modern Heraklion Port is actually divided in the old Venetian harbor and the new the new Ferry Port. It is a well equipped port which serves as a harbor for travelers to and from Heraklion as well as for the shipment of cargo. Almost two million passengers and approximately 300,000 vehicles have been enumerated every year.
Crete, the birthplace of the first Mediterranean civilization, was always based in the creation of naval relationships. Geographically, it has a strategic position, ideal for spiritual and material trade growth. It was always a hub of nautical routes linking the Aegean and the Black Sea with the Eastern and Western Mediterranean.
The port transformations are so many as the Cretan conquerors. Its present form encompasses all the previous adapted to the modern needs of a busy port. First references came from Minoan times, when the port was situated by Katsabas estuary. The scenery changed during the 3rd c. B.C. when Heraklion started to develop. Hundreds years later, on the 9th c. A.D and under Arabs rule, a slave market was organized on the port. Years later, the city was re-captured by the Byzantines, who restored the harbor. Under Venetian rule in 1213 A.D., Candia, as Chandax was re-named, became the center of Crete. Breakwaters and afterwards the Koules fortress along with the three complexes of ship-sheds were the most important additions.