2nd International Symposium on PPE for Agricultural Pesticide Operators
Collaborations for Risk Assessments, PPE Requirements, and Labeling
October 20-23, 2013 - Crete, Greece
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Welcome to Crete

Crete is the largest island in Greece and the fifth-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with a population of more than 600,000 people. The principal cities of Crete are: Heraklion, Chania, Rethymno, Ierapetra, Agios Nikolaos, and Sitia. Heraklion is the largest city and capital of Crete. Approximately 42% of the population lives in Crete's main cities and towns whilst 45% live in rural areas.

The island has two significant airports which serve international routes, the Nikos Kazantzakis airport at Heraklion, and the Daskalogiannis airport at Chania. The island is well served by ferries, mostly from Athens, mainly by Minoan and ANEK Lines ferry companies.

With a strategic geopolitical position connecting three continents and many different cultures, Crete, is located in the southern part of the Aegean Sea separating the Aegean from the Libyan Sea. Crete is isolated from mainland Europe, Asia, and Africa, and this is reflected in the diversity of the fauna and flora.

The climate of Crete is mainly warm Mediterranean. The atmosphere can be quite humid, depending on the proximity to the sea, while winter is fairly mild. Summers in the lowlands are hot and dry. The mountain areas are much cooler, with considerable rain in the winter. The south coast falls in the North African climatic zone, with significantly more sunny days and high temperatures throughout the year. The fertile region around Ierapetra, on the southeastern corner of the island, is renowned for its exceptional year-round agricultural production, with all kinds of summer vegetables and fruit produced in greenhouses throughout the winter.

The economy of Crete is predominantly based on agriculture and is one of the few Greek islands that can support itself independently without a tourism industry. An emphasis remains on agriculture and stock breeding, due to the climate and terrain of the island.

Viticulture and olive groves, oranges and citrons are cultivated in Crete. Dairy products are important to the local economy and there are a number of specialty cheeses such as mizithra, anthotyros, and kefalotyri. All three sectors of the Cretan economy (agriculture/ farming, processing-packaging, services-mainly tourism) are directly connected and interdependent.

History and Culture

Crete was once the center of the Minoan civilization (c. 2700–1420 BC), which is currently regarded as the earliest recorded civilization in Europe. Hominids settled in Crete at least 130,000 years ago. In the later Neolithic and Bronze Age period, under the Minoans, Crete had a highly developed, literate civilization. It has been ruled by various ancient Greek entities, the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Emirate of Crete, the Republic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire.

Crete forms a significant part of the cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local traits (such as its own distinctive Mantinades poetry, music typically performed with the Cretan lyra & laouto, and indigenous dances, the most noted of which is the Pentozali). Cretan famous authors are Vikentios Kornaros, creator of the 17th century epic romance Erotokritos, and in the 20th century Nikos Kazantzakis. In the Renaissance, Crete was the home of the Cretan School of icon painting, which influenced El Greco and through him subsequent European painting.

For more information about Crete, please click here.

Organized by: Benaki Phytopathological Institute (Greece) and National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Research Foundation (USA)