Dressed up in bright sea colors, with Mediterranean flavors bubbling up from times long past and a true cosmopolitan attitude held over the years, Chania is considered to be one of the most atmospheric towns of Greece.
Modern Chania may have expanded in recent years, both along the coast and inland, but once you cross the doorstep of the old town you will forget it all –the noisy streets, the traffic jams, the cement buildings… The recipe for having a good time is simple: relax and enjoy, let the charming Old Town help you find your own route with points of interest!
Wakls in town
Early in the morning you can take the road up the hill of the Prophet Elias, where you will find the grave of the great Greek politician Eleftherios Venizelos and the park dedicated to his memory. From here the panoramic view of the entire town is spread out before you.
Next you can make your way down to the old Venetian Harbour. The ‘Porto Della Canea’ was known in the Middle Ages as the “Venice of the East’, and this is an apt description. The medieval neighborhoods of Castelli, Splantzia, around Firka fortress, the historic lighthouse, the Giali Mosque and Kum-Kapi are just a few of the sights that will impress. The Turkish district, known as Topanas, was to be found around the Firka fortress.
Castelli district – the oldest in the city – was where the Venetian governor had his residence, and the aristocracy also chose to live there. On Chalidon Street, which connects the old city to the new, is the imposing Cathedral of “Trion Martyron” (“The 3 Martyrs”).
History at a glance
The development of the area began in the Pre-Minoan period (2900 BC) and continued uninterrupted until 1450 AD when a fire completely devastated the city. The settlement of Kydonia, established during the Post-Minoan period, flourished on this spot for a considerable time (particularly in the 7th century BC), though it vanished during the Byzantine years.
The Venetians began work on the foundations of today’s town of Chania in 1255. Centuries of fighting with pirates, the Genoans, and later the Ottomans (under Khair ad’Din Barbarossa) followed. Chania was finally occupied by the Turks in 1645. From 1821 onwards the Christian population was treated harshly under the occupation, until 1897 when the fleet of the Great Powers landed troops in Crete and the Turks withdrew.
The Archaeological Museum is situated on Chalidon Street, housed in the former Catholic church of the Venetian monastery of St. Francis. Here archeological findings from the Neolithic Age to the Hellenistic period are on display (+30 28210 90334).
The Folklore Museum is situated in the same area, where exhibits include handmade lace and rare traditional costumes from the 18th and 19th centuries (+30 28210 90816).
In the Maritime Museum at the entrance to the Firka fortress you will find maps, engravings and various ships’ accessories (+30 28210 91875).
The developed tourist beach of Platania extends along the coast road to Kissamos. The closest beach to the town is that of Agios Onoufrios (4 km.). A little further to the north you will find the sandy beach of Kalathas (6 km.). We recommend the shallow sandy beach of Stavros (16 km.), where scenes from the movie “Zorba the Greek” were filmed. At Akrotiri, on the eastern coast, we would also recommend the sandy beaches of Loutraki (16 km.) and Marathi (15 km.), which are organized beaches well protected from the “meltemi” (north summer winds).
COPYRIGHT PHOTO: Theo Athanasiadis / Views Of Greece
COPYRIGHT TEXT: Germaine Alexakis/ Views Of Greece
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