12 Jan, 2016 / 0
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits (such as its own poetry, and music). Crete was once the center of the Minoan civilization (c. 2700–1420 BC), which is currently regarded as the earliest recorded civilization in Europe.
Crete with its nearby islands form the Crete Region (Greek: Περιφέρεια Κρήτης), one of the 13 regions of Greece which were established in the 1987 administrative reform. With the 2010 Kallikratis plan, the powers and authority of the regions were redefined and extended.
The region is based at Heraklion and is divided into four regional units (pre- Kallikratis prefectures). From west to east these are: Chania, Rethymno, Heraklion, and Lasithi. These are further subdivided into 24 municipalities.
Cretan Greek (also Cretan dialect; Greek: Κρητική διάλεκτος or Κρητικά) is a dialect of the Greek language, spoken by more than half a million people] in Crete and many thousands in the diaspora.
The Cretan dialect is spoken by the majority of the Cretan Greeks in the island of Crete, as well as by several thousands of Cretans who have settled in major Greek cities, notably in Athens. In the major centers of the Greek diaspora, the dialect continues to be used by the Cretans, mainly in the United States, Australia, and Germany.
In addition, the descendants of many Cretan Muslims who left the island during the 19th and early 20th century continue to use it. In Turkey, they are called Cretan Turks. There is another grouping of Cretan Muslims in the coastal town of Al Hamidiyah, Syria, and the neighboring territories of Lebanon.