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  • Address: Lion Square

Crete ATTRACTIONS See all

Lion Square & Morosini Fountain

Lion Square is a central hub for both tourists and locals. It is a great place to people-watch, have a pastry at one of the many cafes or check out the historic Morosini Fountain. During the period of Arab rule (9th-10th century AD), the square was the largest slave market in the Eastern Mediterranean. In Venetian times (13th-17th century), Lion Square was the site of the Palace of the Venetian Duke of Crete and is also known as the Ducal Palace, where the Duke and his two councilors decided the fate of Heraklion and its people. The Ducal Palace was a two-story building with verandas and vaulted areas on the ground floor which were rented out as shops on the north side of the square. Now, it is home to many souvlaki shops where late night revelers convene.

Morosini Fountain, built in 1628, was commissioned by Francesco Morosini while he was governor of Crete. It is one of the most famous surviving monuments given from the Venetians. In practical terms, the fountain --which spurts water from four lions into eight marble troughs--offered a solution to supplying Heraklion with water at the time, providing 1,000 barrels of water a day. The lion is not connected to water but used a symbol of Venetian power.

The lobes of the fountain are decorated with scenes from Greek mythology carved in relief, mainly mythical water beings such as Tritons (son of mythical God Poseidon), dolphins and nymphs. At the center of each lobe were the coats of arms of the Doge, the Duke, the Councilors and Morosini himself.

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