The prefecture of Heraklion is the largest in area, has the greatest population and the highest per capita income of Crete. There are seven provinces (eparhies) in this prefecture: Malevizi, Temenos, and Pediada on the north coast and Pirgiotisa, Kainourio, Monofatsi, and Viannos in the centre and on the south coast. The main cities are Heraklion, Limni Hersonisou, Timbaki, Ano Viannos and Mires.
The northwestern area of the prefecture of Heraklion is comprised of the three provinces of Malevizi, Temenos, and Pediada. The main city is Heraklion. This area is the largest grape producing area of Crete and its main products are sultana raisins, Malevizi (Malmsey) wine, and table grapes (Rosaki). In these valleys Sir Arthur Evans, the British archaeologist, excavated the Minoan Palace of Knossos, the remains of a great civilization.
Castle in the sea
A low mountain range rises in the middle of the prefecture and descends into the Mesara Plain. These fertile plains have been cultivated for thousands of years and have important Minoan, Greek, and Roman archaeological sites. Phaistos, Agia Triada, and Gortyn are the major ones. The imposing peak of Psiloritis, 2,456 metres above sea level, is visible from almost all points of the prefecture of Heraklion. It is especially impressive during the winter months when it is snow-capped.