Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands. The capital and the largest city is Heraklion. As of 2011, the region had a population of 623,065. Crete forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece, while retaining its own local cultural traits (such as its own poetry and music). It was once the centre of the Minoan civilization (c. 2700–1420 BC), which is the earliest known civilization in Europe. The ancient palace of Knossos also lies in Crete.