The old town of Chania is the beating heart of the city and the prefecture of Chania.
Crowds of people, tourists and residents of the city, people of all ages, come here and get what the charming old town and the enchanting Venetian harbour of Chania has to offer.
This is what you'll do when you visit Chania old town!
However, do not just stick to the harbor!
Find the way that will lead you within the neighborhoods and
the districts of the old town, and wander through the
labyrinthine winding narrow streets.
You will cross streets and alleys. You'll climb and descend stairs. You will pass under old arches, by the Byzantine and Venetian fortification walls, out of beautiful courtyards, decorated with colorful flowers and plants.
You'll encounter archaeological excavation sites (map) that brought to
light rich findings, even floor plans of whole establishments,
showing that the city of Chania is developed on the site of an
important ancient city named
or Cydonia. According to tradition, Kydonia was the
third-largest city established by King Minos of Crete between
the 3650-3000 BC.
Since then, Cydonia was inhabited in all subsequent phases of history. It flourished and declined at times, met wars, pillages and conquests. Its name paraphrased to Chania. Destroyed and rebuilt multiple times.
Today, the old town of Chania preserves deeply the signs since Crete was a colony of the Venetians (1252-1645), with the necessary additions of the subsequent years of Crete's conquest by the Ottoman Turks (1645-1898), as well as the less visible but existing signs of the Egyptian domination (1831-1841) that occurred during the Ottoman rule.
Observe the architecture of the buildings that reflect the diverse culture and religion of various and different civilizations that lived in Chania.
Many of these buildings were and remain homes, as well, others house shops, stores, bars, cafes and restaurants. Several, mostly Venetian mansions, have been converted into hotels, while other buildings have been converted into museums and venues that host cultural exhibitions.
All of them are monuments that will lead you, mentally, into
the paths of the history of this place.
Through them, get to know better the old town of Chania, which
is consisted by districts, squares and neighborhoods.
During your sightseeing within the old town of Chania...
Archaeological Museum of Chania, in Chalidon
Street, housed in a monastery of Francis monks. The
of Crete, housed in a building within the Firkas fortress at the western side of the harbour. The
Byzantine and Postbyzantine
Collection of Chania, housed in the church of the Francis
monastery of San Salvatore which is located at the end of
street, just behind (west) the Firkas fort.
Visit cultural exhibitions taking place in the
Art Gallery of Chania, or others that may be organized
in several of the historic buildings of the old town and the
Venetian harbour, such as the Grand Arsenal or the other old
Venetian shipyards, the
or at the
Sabbionara Gate in Koum Kapi,
and the church of St. Rocco in the district of Splantzia.
There is a variety of shops selling anything you can imagine, from Cretan products, of which some will excite your curiosity, to beautiful souvenirs.
Apart from the shops that you will randomly encounter on the
streets, another place, where are gathered many shops of all
kinds, is the Municipal Market of Chania, housed in a
cross-shaped building, at the limits of the old town of Chania
and the new city, in Chatzimichali Giannari street (map).
Moreover, one of the most popular shopping streets in Chania, is the Skridlof street (map), the so-called Stivanadika. This is the main place of the prefecture of Chania, where is being manufactured the handmade leather boots of the traditional Cretan male costume, called Stivania (in Greek). Today, apart from the boots, you'll find great varieties in leather goods.
Finally, in Sifakas street (map), you'll find the so-called Macheradika. Macheradika
is the place where manufactured the handmade knives (Knives: in
Greek means Macheria), an inseparable
companion of every Cretan in the old times. Today's, these
knives having engraved the incentive poetic rhymed Cretan
couplets or quatrains, the so-called Mantinades in Crete and
Greece, are sold as souvenirs.
Whenever you want to relax from your walks in the old town of
Chania, choose among the numerous cafes, restaurants and bars of
the old town or at the waterfront, and enjoy the spectacular
views to the sea and the opposite captivating lighthouse.
View beautiful footage of the old town of Chania and the
city of Chania, which extends much further of the walls of the old
Watch even more videos of this series:
The modern city of Chania has to show you several other attractions.
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