Directions for visitors to the Department of Mathematics


Mihalis Kolountzakis (


1 Where we are

The University of Crete is based in the towns of Iraklio ( $HPAK\Lambda EIO$) and Rethymno ($PE\Theta YMNO$), 80 km apart, on the island of Crete, in Greece. The division is roughly that the Humanities and Social Sciences are in Rethymno and the Sciences and Medicine in Iraklio. The Department of Mathematics is in Iraklio.

There are two campuses of the University of Crete in Iraklio. The old and the new, where all departments will eventually converge. So far the departments of Biology and Physics and the Medical School are in the new campus. Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Computer Science, Materials Science and Technology and Chemistry are still in the old campus, and Chemistry is packing (summer 2002).

The location of the new campus is in the southwest of the city center while the old campus is in the southeast, near (1 km) the famous archaeological site of Knossos.

2 Coming to Iraklio from outside Crete

You can either fly into Iraklio from Athens or come by boat from Piraeus (Athens). A boat ticket is usually at most half the price of the airfare (which is around EUR 80 one way) and the boat trip lasts for six to eight hours (it is usually overnight). The duration of the flight from Athens is roughly 35 minutes.

There are also direct flights from Thessaloniki (in the north of Greece) and Rodos (east of Crete). During the summer there are many charter flights from almost every European country.

The two ferry companies that travel to Iraklio are Minoan and ANEK. The two major airlines are Olympic and Aegean Airlines.

The harbor is walking distance (10 min) from the center of the town (online map) and the airport is located at the east end of the town (just east of Alikarnassos, a suburb). One can get to town from the Airport either by public bus, which will take you to the center of the town for less than EUR 1 and in about 20 minutes with no traffic, of by taxi. The taxi fare depends on where you go and how much luggage you carry, but should rarely be more than EUR 10 for a destination in Iraklio. The bus stop is located about 50 m away from the terminal gates.

3 Where to stay

3.1 Outside Iraklio

If you decide to rent a car for the duration of your stay, or can, in some other way, move yourself for about 25 km per day to work, I suggest that you choose to stay outside Iraklio, in one of the beach towns to the west and, mainly, the east. Housing there is abundant and cheaper than in the city itself. It is usually also better suited for longer stays, as the rooms tend to be more spacious and have a small kitchen inside. If you come off season you can probably rent for less than EUR 100 / week.

Some of these places (Gouves, Kokkini, Hersonissos, to the east, Lygaria, Agia Pelagia to the west) are also served by bus, quite frequently. But, to come to the Department of Mathematics you would need to catch the city bus from downtown Iraklio, as well.

3.2 In town

Check here for a list of hotels.

4 Coming to the Department of Mathematics from Iraklio

4.1 By taxi

The simplest way for somebody who does not know the place is to take a taxi. The cost should be less than EUR 5. You should instruct the driver that you want to go to the University at Knossos, to avoid confusion with the new campus. Alternatively you may want to ask to go to Venizelio ( $BENIZE\Lambda EIO$), a well known hospital adjacent to our (old) campus. Beware as there is also a hospital (the University Hospital or $\Pi E\Pi A\Gamma NH$) next to the new campus.

4.2 By bus from the center

If you are coming often to the department it pays to learn coming by bus. The easiest thing is to ask somebody for directions on how to get to the bus for Knossos, a popular tourist destination. Once at the bus stop you can board any bus which goes to Knossos ( $KN\Omega\Sigma O \Sigma$), Fortetsa ( $\Phi OPTET\Sigma A$) or Skalani ( $\Sigma KA\Lambda ANI$).

The city buses are usually colored blue (as opossed to the buses that serve destinations outside the city which colored green), although sometimes they are covered with so many commerial advertisements that it's hard to tell the color. You should buy your ticket (at the time of writing it costs EUR 0.60) before you board the bus, usually at a kiosk ( $\Pi EPI\Pi TEPO$) or other small shop. Tickets are also available at the student cafe in our building. Explain that you're going to the University and not Knossos, which is 1km farther out, as the price is different. Give your ticket to the driver as you are boarding. He may keep it or tear it and give it back to you.

4.2.1 The bus route

The buses leave from the harbor (west end of the harbor, by the city wall) follow S. Venizelou Ave (this is the big road that runs parallel to the sea, $\Lambda E\Omega\Phi. \Sigma. BENIZE\Lambda OY$), then follow 25th August Ave ( $\Lambda E\Omega\Phi. 25\eta\varsigma AY\Gamma OY\Sigma TOY$), then 1821 St ( $O\Delta O\Sigma 1821$), then Vikela St ( $O\Delta O\Sigma BIKE\Lambda A$), then Evans Ave ( $\Lambda E\Omega\Phi. EBAN\Sigma$), then Knossos Ave ( $\Lambda E\Omega\Phi. KN\Omega\Sigma OY$). There are bus stops along the way and the buses run roughly every 10 min or even more often. The bus stops are sometimes hard to tell and you may have to ask for its location, even though you might happen to already be standing there.

4.2.2 When to get off the bus

Your bus will be moving in the southeast direction. The distance from the center to our old campus is roughly 4 km. Unfortunately there are no clear landmarks that will help you identify where to get off the bus (you can always ask other passengers, of course). At some point your bus will start going uphill. After about 100 m you are passing under a tall bridge (this is the main west to east highway on the northern coast of Crete) and you continue going uphill for another kilometer. After the road becomes level it will stay so for another kilometer or so and then will start going slightly uphill again. At that moment you will see on your left a big building, a complex, which houses one of the two Iraklio tax offices, two banks and other shops. There are two very colorful signs at the edge of the lot, one yellow (Piraeus Bank, Winbank) and one red (Sole Mio, a children play area). That's your sign to get off, right across that building. If you miss that stop, get off at the next one (after 200 m).

If you made it at the first stop, walk on Knossos Ave for another 50 m in the direction of the bus, then cross the road (go to the left side) and go up a well hidden long stairway to the main University building (north entrance). If you got off at the second stop then just cross the road and go up another stairway to the main building's south entrance.

4.3 Driving to the Department of Mathematics

To be written.

5 Access to facilities

5.1 Building

The north entrance of the building is open round the clock. The south entrance closes around 8 on workdays.

5.2 Department Office / Faculty Offices

The Department Office is located in E 312. This is wing E, level 3 (one above the library). Wing E is the southmost wing on level 3. It is open from 8 am - 2:30pm on workdays.

Most of the faculty offices are in wings E, Z, and H, at level 3, and in wing $\Gamma$, level 1. Most applied mathematicians have their offices in wing $\Gamma$.

5.3 Library

The Mathematics Library (also for Computer Science and Chemistry) is located next to the southern entrance of the building. Throughout the semester it is open 8 am - 8 pm on weekdays, 8 am - 2 pm Saturdays and closed Sundays. During the breaks it is usually open only on weekdays from 8 am - 2 pm.

If you're here for long you may also ask the Department for a library card that will enable you to check material out. A photo is needed.

5.4 Photocopies

5.5 Public Access Computers / Printing

There are some public access computers and a laser printer in Room Z.307. In most offices you should also be able to connect your laptop to the network, but you might need some network data for this.

5.6 Lecture Rooms

Most of the seminars take place in Room Z 301 (Wing Z, one wing north of wing E). If you were invited to give a lecture, chances are it will be in there. The alternative is Room L 221 ($\Lambda 221$), in the north wing (over the student restaurant).

5.7 Phones

There are two public phones near the north and south entrance. You must have a phone card, which you can buy at a kiosk or at the student cafe.

If you're given an office and you want to dial out, dial 9 first. You may not be able to call abroad. Internal University numbers are 4 digits long, and Math Dept numbers usually start with 38. Local numbers (Iraklio and vicinity) start with 281 followed by 7 digits.

If you encounter six digit numbers for Iraklio they are probably old phone numbers as they used to be until 1/1/2002. After that date and until 3/11/2002 such numbers were to be prefixed with 0810. This prefix has now been changed to 2810. Similarly, if you encounter a seven digit number it's most likely a phone number in Athens and must be prefixed by 210.

Effective November 3, 2002 telephone numbers in Greece changed yet again. For stationary (that is, not mobile) phones the first digit changed from 0 to 2. For example, to dial my office from anywhere in Greece you were dialing 0810393834, but are now dialing 2810393834. From outside the country, you were dialing +30810393834 but must now dial +302810393834. Effective January 19, 2003 the first 0 of all mobile telephone numbers (now identiafiable as starting with 09..., but not 090 ...) will change from a 0 to a 6.

6 Where to eat

6.1 On campus

In our building, one can get food in the student cafe or the student restaurant. Both are located at the north entrance to the building.

In the cafeteria, besides drinks, coffee, etc, one can get sandwiches of several kinds.

The student restaurant is open seven days per week (with very few exceptions throughout the year) for lunch from 1-4 pm and for dinner from 6-9 pm.

In both the cafeteria and the restaurant the prices are way below anything you may find off the University, and the quality is rather good.

The big drawback is that they may both be very crowded especially for lunch, and sometimes they are noticably less than clean.

6.2 In town or nearby

When the student restaurant is crowded, you still have some options of restaurants within a few minutes walk from the building.

Across the street (Knossos Ave) from the south entrance of the main building there are two decent restaurants. If you walk north on Knossos Ave for 200 meters you will meet at least one place that makes souvlaki. The basic form of this is pork meat on a skewer, usually accompanied with fried potatos. It can also be wrapped in a pita bread.

For restaurants in the area of Iraklio in general, not restricted close to our campus, check here, which written by a colleague from Physics.

7 Culture in Iraklio

7.1 Cinema

There are seven movie theaters in Iraklio, three of which operate only in the summer (open air theaters) and two of which only in the winter. One movie theater stays open year round.

Most of them are located in the center of the city with the exception of "Studio" which is near the airport (accesible by bus). You can see the movies shown at any given time here. The information is in Greek, but, since most movies are in English, one can probably make some sense out of it.

The ticket costs between EUR 6 and 7.

8 Renting a car

There are many small companies that rent cars on the island. You can also find the big name companies, especially at the airport, but they tend to be more expensive. If you want a bargain, go to 25th August Ave, near Liontaria Sq, where many rental companies are to be found. Expect to pay around EUR 30 per day, for a small car (e.g. Opel Corsa) in high season, including all insurance. There is one catch regarding the insurance: it does not cover damages to the "lower part" of the car (wheels, etc). This is meant to discourage tourists from driving their rental cars over very rough roads, of which there are plenty in Crete.

9 Some day trips from Iraklio

To be written.

10 Weather in Crete

Crete's weather is typical of an eastern Mediterranean island. Its thin shape and the high mountains also contribute to a large extend to its climate which is mild and healthy as each corner of the island is reached by the sea breeze and with high altitudes preventing the air from becoming damp. It is also very stable and does not suffer dramatic change. The high mountains contribute to an aggregation of clouds resulting in some rain during the winder. There is also some snowfall to be seen on the mountains but the long hours of sunshine generally assure a mild winter climate. In the summer also the weather is mild but can became hot and sometimes during the summer winds can be felt blowing in from the sea on the north or the south coast. (Plagiarized from

Mihalis Kolountzakis 2002-11-05