Crete was a Venetian dominion until 1669. As a main stoppover on the pilgims' journey to the Holy Land, Chandax (Heraklion) was among the first ports to be depicted in illustrated travel accounts. At the same time, from the 15th to the 18th century Crete is mapped in all important isolaria.
In addition, the military events which took place during the prolonged siege of the island by the Ottomans provided subjects for illustration, aside from the corresponding descriptions in several texts. The first naturalists who explored the inland were P. Belon in the mid-16th century and J. Pitton de Tournefort in the early 18th century. Thus, the illustrations of their works are the first to depict specific subjects related to Crete, mainly flora and fauna.
From the mid-19th century onwards the new technique of photography coexists with older modes of representation (drawings, wood engravings and water colour). The main subjects are the impressive natural landscape and the splendid sights of Crete, along with pictures related to the political and military events which took place on the island at the time.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou