Runaway growth over the last few decades has converted Iraklion, the largest city in Crete (with 150,000 inhabitants in an area of 120 square kilometers), into a small Athens. Air pollution and traffic congestion are so bad that traffic restrictions have been imposed in the inner city. It is hoped that regenerating the part of Iraklion that lies inside the Venetian walls will allow the heavily built-up city to breathe. As architect Ioanna Steriotou explained, even inside the walls six-story buildings have been erected and a car can barely circulate on the streets. «It’s suffocating. The thought of what would occur in an earthquake makes you panic,» she said. Despite the damage incurred in the zone within the Venetian walls, Iraklion has preserved the character of a highly important fortified complex of the 16th and 17th centuries, the best preserved and the only one completely intact in Greece. According to Steriotou, «this zone could be turned into a zone for leisure and revitalization.»

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