25th of August Street in Heraklion
25th of August Street runs from the Meidani, the central crossroads of Heraklion, down to the Venetian harbour and the fortress of Koules. Along it are the Basilica of St Mark, the Loggia and the church of Saint Titus. As you approch the harbour, you will feel the cool sea breeze. At the end of the street and in the parallel alleyway of Agios Dimitrios are ouzeri (ouzo bars) serving delicious seafood.
25th of August Street is now a paved pedestrian street, and boasts the most beautiful Neoclassical buildings in Heraklion. Today they house banks, travel bureaux and tourist shops. These buildings were erected after the catastrophe of 1898, to give Heraklion the air of a modern city. The street was ironically known as "Odos Planis" ("Illusion Street"), because visitors who come up from the harbour and see these beautiful edifices form a favourable first impression of the city which is cruelly disappointed further on.
25th of August Street may have been first cut by the Arabs in the 9th or 10th century. It has always been the main thoroughfare of Heraklion, linking the town centre to the harbour. During the Venetian period (13th-17th century) it was called the Ruga Maistra (Main Street), while in Ottoman times it was known as Vezir Tsarsi (Vizier's Market) after the Vezir Mosque.
The modern name of the street is due to a tragic event. On the 25th of August 1898, the feast of St Titus, a maddened Muslim mob slaughtered many Christians, including 17 British soldiers and the British Consul Lysimachos Kalokairinos.
This wanton act of violence spurred the Great Powers to place the island under their protection, leading a few years later (1913) to the Union of Crete with Greece.