Coral ARGUELLES / Dayton DYKSTRA / Apostolos SARRIS
Foundation for Research and Technology, Rethymnon, Greece)




The particular study aims to examine the interplay of the archaeological monuments in the evolution of the urban centers of the three main cities of Crete (Herakleion, Rethymnon, Chania).  To achieve the particular goals a wealth of information retrieved from historical maps, modern statistical and cadastral databases has been fused together through various geo-information technologies.  Bibliographic references were able to compose a database from where timelines of city-growth were extracted making feasible the comparison of the cities from Venetian times through their present layout, manifesting the changes of the urban matrix of the different cities in Crete.  Thus it was also possible to examine the residues of the original Venetian architecture that remains intact until today and how the roles of the cities changed over time.

In this process, new technologies like AutoCAD, GIS, and ADOBE applications contributed accordingly to fully understand and visualize how these cities were and how they were transformed until today.  The evolution of the Venetian cities was based on the densification and expansion of the original city centers, consisting of public and private buildings, public spaces, military facilities and free surface. It became obvious that although the three cities followed a similar trajectory of evolution, complementing each other in the relatively even distribution of population and civil roles, their current situation has been differentiated with direct consequences to the promotion of the Venetian architectural monuments.  More specifically, with the pass of time, Chania and Rethymnon preserved their city centers and still functioning as open-air museums, while Herakleion suffered a radical change in its urban planning.  Due to this difference the study was focused on Herakleion as a “transformed archaeological city”.

Finally, with this analytical approach conclusions can be extracted that will allow to propose a specific  non-aggressive urban planning for the city of Herakleion, regeneration of public spaces and conservation of the remaining architectural heritage to improve its present status.


urban evolution, venetian centers, Crete, GIS, CAD.