Crete's geographical position, climate and geophysical environment have had a decisive influence on the economic activities developing on the island. As was only natural, agricultural production turned to well-known Mediterranean zone commodities - wine, olive oil etc. - though this does not imply that crops were never changed. Economic developments in the wider Mediterranean influenced inhabitants' choices, while there were also were cases in which the state encouraged particular activities and practices so as to further its own interests.

From its inception, Heraklion, the Chandax of the Arabs and Byzantines, was one of the island's major ports and markets, and at times one of the most economically active towns in the wider region.

Grapes hung out to dry on an opsigias (wire frame) (Yiannis Harkoutsis, Venerato, Heraklion)
Orange harvesting, 1926 (Nelly's, Benaki Museum, Athens)
Grape harvest (Yiannis Harkoutsis)
The market in Heraklion, 2004 (photograph: Multimedia Lab)
A fishing boat in the Venetian port, 2004 (photograph: Vassilis Kozonakis)