Last modified: 2010-04-24 by ivan sache
Keywords: heraklion | iraklion | griffin (red) |
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Flag of Heraklion, two variants - Images by Eugene Ipavec, 20 January 2010 (left), and uncredited, undated (right)
Heraklion or Iraklion is the largest city and capital of Crete. It is also the fourth largest city in Greece. Its name is also spelled Herakleion, a transliteration of the ancient Greek and Katharevousa name, Ἡράκλειον, or Iraklio, among other variants. For centuries it was known as Candia, a Venetian adaptation of the earlier Greek name Χάνδαξ (Chandax, "moat") or Χάνδακας, which in turn came from the Arabic rabḍ al-ḫandaq. The English form Candy, derived from French Candie, meant the city of Candia or all of Crete (as in Twelfth Night 5.1). Under the Ottoman Empire, it was called Kandiye. In the local vernacular, it is often called Κάστρο (Kástro, "castle") and its inhabitants Καστρινοί (Kastrinoí, "castle dwellers").
Heraklion is the capital of Heraklion Prefecture, with an international airport named after the writer Nikos Kazantzakis. The ruins of Knossos, which were excavated and restored by Arthur Evans, are nearby.
Aleksandar Nemet, 12 January 2010
A first flag of Heraklion is white with the emblem of Heraklion and ΔΕΜΟΣ ΗΡΑΚΛΕΙΟΥ (Town of Heraklion) written in green letters under
The emblem is made of a red griffin, surrounded by ΗΡΑΚΛΕΙΟΝ (Heraklion) in red letters, placed on a white disk outlined with two red rings.
A second flag of Heraklion is horizontally divided light blue-white with a thin white-light blue fimbriation in the middle and the town's emblem, surmonted
by ΔΕΜΟΣ (top, white letters) and ΗΡΑΚΛΕΙΟΥ (bottom, light blue letters), reading "Town of Heraklion".
The emblem is made of a purple griffin placed on a white disk outlined with two purple rings, the lettering from the aforementioned emblem being omitted.
The griffin (Grype for the ancient Greeks) is a chimeric eagle-lion,
common in the ancient Cretan iconograpy. I have not been able to
identify with precision the source of the griffon represented on the
Heraklion emblem - an original found at the Cnossos palace would be
In Le griffon créto-mycénien : inventaire et remarque (Bulletin de correspondance hellénique, 81: 203-215 ), André Dessenne lists 50 griffin representations found in Crete.
Aleksandar Nemet & Ivan Sache, 13 January 2010