Cultural Tour

edwlio.jpg

A first-time visitor to Chania is surprised by the great number of buildings and monuments on which can be found traces of its great history and rich civilisation. The old town, on and around the hill of Kasteli, was built upon the ruins of Minoan Kydonia and is surrounded by the Byzantine wall, the Venetian wall and the sea.

 

The Minoan civilisation left behind grand tombs, interesting ceramics and objects. During its occupation by the Venetians and the Turks, people of different nationality, culture and religion co-existed. Christians (Catholic and Orthodox), Jews and Muslims, have left discernible traces and produced particularly interesting creations.

skalista.jpg

In the neighbourhood of Topanas with its narrow paved streets, the visitor meets Venetian manors with elaborately decorated facades and Turkish houses with architectural protrusions.

 

There we can find Fort Firkas, the Naval Museum and the church of San Salvatore of the Francheskan Monks (15th - 17th cent. AD) which hosts the Byzantine collection of Chania. The collection of ΙLΑΕΚ and many shops offering traditional handicrafts can also be found there.

In the old Jewish neighbourhood there is the synagogue and on Halidon street the folklore museum (Cretan house) and the church of St. Frangiskos. The church hosts the town's archaeological museum and houses treasures from the Minoan to the Hellenistic period.

mitropoli.jpg

Opposite there is the Metropolitan temple of Isodia (representation of the Virgin Mary) with its exquisite hagiographies and close to that are the old Turkish baths.

In the area of Sintrivani, around the homonymous square, there is the mosque of Kiuchouk Hasan (1645) and opposite that the quay with the Venetian lighthouse. A little further away, 7 out of the original 17 docks (Neoria) can be found (14th-16th cent. AD). Eye-capturing is the Great Arsenal, which today is used as a convention and exhibition centre.

Along the harbour, small cafeterias and restaurants create an inviting atmosphere.

On the hill of Kasteli there are still parts of the old Rector's palace and its court and the engraving on a lintel over a door reminds us of the existence of Venetian Archives. Near there, the excavation of ancient Kydonia and the ruins of the church of St. Maria of Mirakoli (1615) are located.

At the "stivanadika", which is still characterised by Eastern features, one can buy leather goods. Next to that is the building of Chrisostomos and the new public Art Gallery. In the old Turkish neighbourhood Splantzia is the square of the former monastery οf

St. Nicholas (1204) with a bell-tower and minaret. The small church of the period of enlightenment's of St. Rokkos (1630) can also be found there. Near that is the church of St. Anargyroi (16th cent. AD) with its priceless hagiographies and St. Catherine's church.

 

sabionara3.jpg

Outside the walls, to the east of the old town, we come across Koum-Kapi where during the last years of the Turkish occupation, Beduins built a village. Today the area is a favourite meeting place for young people.

agora.jpg

In the neighbourhood of Halepa there is the palace of Prince George, the house of Eleftherios Venizelos, the French School (1860), the church of St. Magdalea (1903) and the church of Evangelismou. From later periods the following places are of interest: the manor "Villa Koundourou", a workshop of fine arts and a youth centre, the municipal park (1870) with its clock, the market (built 1913, cross-shaped building with hundreds of small shops), the park of peace and friendship of people, the court house, the prefecture, the Venizelion School of Music, the Historic Archives Museum, the War Museum and the Museum of Chemistry.

 

tafoi_venizelon.jpg

In the neighbourhoods outside the walls there are many neoclassical buildings with beautiful gardens which smell of hyacinth, honey suckle and rose trees. At the border of the town with the cape (Akrotiri) are the graves of Eleftherios and Sofocles Venizelos. The town of Chania, the first capital of Crete, kept its historical heritage of so many centuries almost unaffected. Its atmosphere attracted scientists, philosophers, poets and artists of different origins and it became a cultural centre.