Schools, Associations and Intellectual Life
One of the Cretan State's immediate priorities was to tackle the enormous problem posed by illiteracy. For the first time ever, the Cretan State Constitution established compulsory elementary education for both sexes on the island, accompanying this with the opening of dozens of new schools. In the 1909-1910 school year, 656 primary schools were in operation, with a total roll call of over 40 000 pupils.

Heraklion emerged as a major centre in this drive for education. Both public and private institutes of learning opened in the town, and hundreds of pupils flocked in from the countryside to attend the "Heraklion High School", which was housed in the Turkish barracks (now the Heraklion Prefecture offices).

A whole host of associations and societies contributed to the growth of intellectual and charitable activity. The Vikelaia Library was established in 1910, on the strength of the collection Dimitrios Vikelas had bequeathed to the Municipality of Heraklion two years earlier. Significant progress was also made in archaeological research at this time.

Information and entertainment needs were satisfied by the publication and circulation of local newspapers such as Daphne ["Laurel"], Eleftheria ["Freedom"] and the French-Turkish bilingual Medanet, and periodicals such as Christianiki Kriti ["Christian Crete"] and Kritiki Stoa ["Cretan Arcade"].

1898  |  1899  |  1900  |  1902  |  1905  |  1906  |  1908  |  1909  |  1910  |  1911  |  1912  |  1913
School celebrations in Prince's Square, now Eleftherias Square (R. Behaeddin, Historical Museum of Crete, S.C.H.S, Heraklion)
The former Turkish barracks were used to house the Heraklion High School. The same building complex now houses the Nomarchia (prefectural authority), the courts and the police headquarters, 1900 (R. Behaeddin, No 76, Michalis Papadakis-Dandolos Collection)
Commemorative graduation photograph of the School teachers, Class 1905 (photograph: G. Marayiannis, Ioannis M. Tzanis Collection)
Teacher's degree issued under Cretan Autonomy, 1905 (Ioannis M. Tzanis Collection)
Application for a wage increase, submitted by the janitor at the Heraklion Greek School, 21st January 1864 (Ministry of Education - Heraklion General State Archives, Demosthenis G. Stephanidis Archive, Vol. 1 (1785-1869), p. 216, Heraklion 2006)
The front cover of "Farming Lessons", 1905 (Ioannis M. Tzanis Collection)