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Chania: Live the adventure


Chania is the capital city of West Crete and one of the oldest in the island with a rich and tremendous history. The city has preserved its traditional architecture and most of its monuments from the Venetian and Turkish period. Archaeological sites, temples, squares and beautiful buildings compose the picture. The Venetian, Turkish, traditional and modern architecture co-exist in harmony, creating an attractive scenery for the visitors. The amazing Venetian harbour with its famous Lighthouse and the old town in the centre, welcome thousands of visitors each year. The modern part of the city is developing quite fast.

The prefecture of Chania consists of 5 provinces: Kydonia which includes the city of Chania and extends to the south, all the way to the White Mountains. Its coastal part is the main touristic area of West Crete. Further to the West, the region of Kissamos includes the two peninsulas of Rodopou and Gramvoussa. East of Chania, the region of Apokoronas is one of the greenest regions in Crete with hundreds of olive trees between the sea and the northern slopes of the White Mountains. In the South, the region of Selino stretches from the south-west on Crete to just beyond Sougia on the south coast. Sfakia is by far the largest of all the regions, preserving the strongest traditions. The White Mountains (or Lefka Ori) are located in the centre part of the prefecture of Chania.

Chania Prefecture is the greenest part of Crete. The landscape showcases wonderful beaches with golden sand and crystal-clear water, beautiful, imposing mountains and many impressive deep gorges.

The Harbour

It was built by the Venetians for over a period of 300 years (since 1320). The Harbour has two different basins: The basin in the West that was mainly used for unloading goods, stored in warehouses and the Eastern basin which was used to build and repair ships. It was lined up by arsenals on one side and protected from storms by a long mole leading to the Lighthouse.


The Lighthouse

The Egyptian Lighthouse is considered as one of the oldest in the world. It’s a unique historical monument, located at the edge of the breakwater in the old Port of Chania. It has a height of 21m, and its light reaches a distance of 7 miles. The original Venetian lighthouse was built in the late 16th century with the mandate to protect the harbour. However, during the Turkish occupation the Lighthouse fell into disrepair and was eventually rebuilt between 1824 and 1832 in the form of a minaret. The reference to the Lighthouse as “Egyptian” is due to the fact that it was built during the Egyptian occupation of Crete, supporting the weakening Ottoman Empire against the rebellious Cretans. The base of the Lighthouse is still the original Venetian and it was renovated in 2005.


The Arsenali buildings

Were constructed between 1467 and 1599 in the eastern harbour and were used as ship repair yards. They were in total 20; Seventeen of them in a row and three more separate ones, though nine of them were demolished during the Turkish occupation. The most notable of the Arsenali buildings is The Grand Arsenal. It was built last and had thicker walls. It has been used as a Christian school and later as a hospital. It also served as the City Hall until 1941 when it was partly destroyed by bombings. Nowadays, as it has been extensively restored, it stands as a beautiful building that hosts various exhibitions and events. It also hosts the Center of Mediterranean Architecture and some of the most important international architectural and cultural events.


The Mosque of Chania

The Kucjk Hassan Mosque (or Mosque of the Janissaries) is the unique preserved Mosque of the city and the oldest Ottoman building in Crete. It was built in 1645 when the Turks captured Chania and is located in the Venetian Port. The minaret was destroyed during the bombings of World War II. The building had been functioning as a Mosque until 1923. In the past years it was renovated and today is used as a place for cultural events and exhibitions.

Archaeological Museum of Chania

The exhibits of the Museum cover the Chania’s cultural history from the Neolithic period until the Roman Empire. The findings from the excavations come from many areas of the city and they came in light during the last 50 years. The Museum is located at the place of the Venetian Monastery of Agios Fragiskos in Halidon Street in Chania.

Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Collection

Located in the internal part of north-westernside of the fortification walls, the exhibition is focused on the historical and artistic identity of the region, during the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine period.

Nautical Museum of Crete

At the entrance of “Firka”, the Nautical Museum of Crete, stands at the historical fortress since 1973. It was founded in order to promote island’s nautical traditions and history. The Museum cooperates with other Nautical Museums in the country and abroad.

The Municipal Market of Chania

Commonly known as the “Agora”, city’s Municipal Market was built between 1909 and 1913 at the standards of the covered market of Marseilles. It is a large building of 4000 square meters in the “heart” of the city, an remains an active market that houses shops with locals products such as cheeses, olives, raki, as well as vegetables, fish, meat, herbs, spices and more. In the summer many shops also sell tourist souvenirs. The Municipal Market stands as an architectural jewel for Chania, as it is one of the most impressive markets in Balkans.


Museum of Eleftherios Venizelos

The fatherly house of Eleftherios Venizelos, one of the most important politicians in the Greek history is located in Halepa of Chania. He lived in that house for more than thirty years, (1880-1910) and later for short periods. Today it constitutes a Museum. You may also visit the house where Eleftherios Venizelos was born in Mournies that has also been transformed into Museum showcasing some of the most significant personal objects of the politician.

Municipal Art Gallery of Chania

It hosts significant works of painting, engraving and sculpture, dated by the 18th century until today, that were created by Greek and local artists. Part of the collection of works, exposed in the Municipal Art Gallery, was donated by Lykourgos Manousakis at late ‘50s.

Folklore Museum of Chania – Cretan House

At the centre of the Old city, next to the Catholic church, you can visit the Folklore Museum. It houses beautiful traditional exhibits that offer the visitor a concrete idea of the way that residents used to live during the 18th and 19th century in Crete.

Museum of the Greek National Football Team

At the centre of the Old city, next to the Catholic church, you can visit the Folklore Museum. It houses beautiful traditional exhibits that offer the visitor a concrete idea of the way that residents used to live during the 18th and 19th century in Crete.

Municipal Garden (Kipos of Chania)

The Chania Municipal Garden was created in 1870 by the end of the Turkish occupation, as a free space for relaxation. The enormous Ficus tree in the Garden has survived from the original period and has reached an impressive size. Right across, you can see an enclosure with a few Cretan wild goats. Inside, the Kipos café is one of the oldest cafés in the city.

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