Crete’s history goes back 8,000 years. According to archaeological evidence, the island was first inhabited in the Neolithic Period, at around 6500 B.C.
Permanent Neolithic settlements in Heraklion were those of Knossos (on the outskirts of the Municipality), Phaistos, Katsambas, while certain caves were seasonally inhabited, such as Stravomytis Cave on Mt. Juktas, Eileithyia in Gouves, Trapeza in Tylissos.
The first Cretans arrived here, according to the most popular view, from Asia Minor or North Africa and gradually progressed in the next 3,000 years. They lived in caves and used stone tools to cultivate the land and raise animals. What was initially primitive pottery developed with the use of fire and gradually became more technically advanced.
The Neolithic Period lasted until about 3,000 B.C. Religious worship during this period was dedicated to the goddess of fertility of the land. A significant number of corpulent female clay figurines have been found around Crete and in the broader Mediterranean region.