Crete was under Venetian rule for about four and a half centuries before it fell under the Ottoman Empire in the 1660s. Koules Fortress (Castello a Mare in Italian) was probably one of the primary representations of that period when Heraklion was a part of the maritime empire of Venice. Built in the early 16th century when the town was still called Candia, the fort still looks a lot like the way it was five hundred years ago. The best part is you don’t have to leave Heraklion to visit it – Koules Fortress is located near the city center right next to the port. The fort is open to visitors every day except Monday (8.30-19.00 from 1st of April to 31st of October, 8.30-15.00 during the winter period) and the entrance fee is only 2 Euro.