The historic centre of Heraklion city is defined by the Venetian walls, which is the largest fortification of the eastern Mediterranean area.
Their construction began in the early 13th century by the Venetians, at a time when the existing Byzantine walls were no longer suitable to protect the city and its constantly growing population. Construction took place in two stages and was completed in the early 17th century according to the new “Bastion system”. Their outer perimeter featured a deep trench and other smaller defensive works and forts. Their landward parts include seven Bastions (Sabionara Bastion, Vitturi Bastion, Bastion of Jesus, Martinengo Bastion, Bethlehem Bastion, Pantokratoras Bastion and Agios Andreas Bastion) and nine Gates (Sabionara Gate, Agios Georgios Gate, Gate of Jesus, Martinengo Gate, Bethlehem Gate, Pantokratoras Gate, Agios Andreas Gate, Dermatas Gate and the Port (or Dock) Gate). Thanks to its new walls, the city of Candia (the name of Heraklion at the time), managed to withstand the siege by the Ottoman army for more than 20 years (1648 - 1669).