Chania is one of the most beautiful cities of the Mediterranean, a city that combines incredible natural beauty with a rich history and significant cultural tradition, a city where the old meets the new.
From the ancient years, during the Venetian era and until today, the Venetian castles, the olive groves, the canyons and the beautiful beaches of the prefecture of Chania have witnessed and guarded the civilization of the eastern Mediterranean.
The city of Chania is called “Venice of the East” and “City of Flowers” due to its rich vegetation and abundance of flowers. Crete is life, joy, passion, and that is why whoever visits it falls in love with the island! The others, are yet to visit!
THE VENETIAN LIGHTHOUSE
The lighthouse, the jewel of the city, is 21 meters high and its light covers a distance of 7 miles. It is one the oldest lighthouses that are still preserved today, not only in Greece and the Mediterranean, but also in the world.
A bright example of Islamic art of the Renaissance, distinguished by its uniqueness, Giali Tzamisi is the only one from the preserved Mosques of the city that was built during the second half of the 17th century. It was built to honor the first Sergeant of Chania, Kioutsouk Hassan, and the studies conducted that on its position there used to be a small temple.
THE GRAND ARSENAL
The Grand Arsenal is the last of the 17 “Neoria” (Venetian Dockyards) to the west. Its construction started in1585 by the Intendant Alvise Grimani. The thickness of its walls, its isolation from the rest of the “Neoria” and the public services it hosted through time assign the importance of this building and might explain why it is called “Grand”.
Nowadays, it has been transformed into an impressive building that hosts various exhibitions and events. It also hosts the Center of Mediterranean Architecture and important Greek and International events related to architecture.
NEORIA (VENETIAN DOCKYARDS)
During the Venetian occupation (1204 – 1669), the need for the closer presence of Venetian navy in Crete obliged Venice to construct the “Neoria” (arsenali), dockyards where the ships would be maintained during the winter.
The public covered market (1911) was built at the city limits of the Old Town, by the Venetian bastion. Cruciform like its model, the public market at Marseilles, this impressive erection shelters seventy shops selling mainly fresh local products.
The Naval Museum of Crete is located at the entrance of the historical fortress “Firka”. It was founded in 1973 in order to promote the nautical traditions and history of the island. The Museum cooperates and interacts with other Naval Museums in Greece and abroad.
The fortress is on the northwest side of the port and was constructed to protect the entrance of the port and maintains its Turkish name “Firka” (Firka=barracks). A chain from “Firka” to the lighthouse blocked the entrance to the port in case of intrusion. The fortress was the headquarters of the Army Commander of the city. In the interior, the spaces were organized to barracks and ammunition storage areas.
AGHIOS FRAGKISKOS TEMPLE (ARCHEOLOGICAL MUSEUM OF CHANIA)
This building complex is located on the street “Halidon” and hosts the Archeological Museum of the city. The building is preserved but most of its part has been renovated with many modern interventions. On its southern side there was a double arcade (chiostro) with the rooms of the monks and other buildings.
During the Turkish period, the temple of Aghios Fragkiskos was converted into a mosque, the “Giousouf Pasha Tzamisi”. Then, the minaret and the octagonal fountain were added in the courtyard. In the later years, it was again converted into a cinema and an entertainment center.
more points of interest
Falassarna bay is one of the most famous beaches in Greece, which has been awarded as the best beach of Crete and one of the 10 best beaches in Europe in the past. Falasarna spans a huge area and consists actually of five consecutive beaches, with the two central being the most favorite.
The sand in Falassarna is white, making the water color tropical. Indeed, if you’re lucky and be here on a day that is not blowing from the west, rare in west Crete, you will be enchanted by the beach and its turquoise waters.
Elafonissi is located 76km west of Chania, in the southwesternmost point of Crete. Elafonissi is an oblong which “breaks” in two parts by water giving the impression of being a separate island. Elafonisi is a Natura 2000 protected area. The island is full of dunes with sand lilies and jupiners (like-cedars trees).
The endangered turtles careta careta and several rare animals nest on the island and it is strictly forbidden to remove any plants, animals and sand from the area. Exotic beaches with white sand and turquoise waters, reminding of the Caribbean, are formed on either sides of the peninsula. The sand is pinkish in many places, taking its color from thousands of broken shells. Near the “breaking” point of the peninsula, the water does not exceed 1m, creating a small lagoon, ideal for children.
You can easily cross the lagoon in order to reach the “island”, having your staff with you, because the water is very shallow there.
Balos is a beautiful lagoon at the northwest side of Gramvousa peninsula, 53 km west from the city of Chania. A single glance is enough for someone to understand that this is not just a beach but one of nature’s finest masterpieces. The castle at Gramvousa was built in 1579 by the Venetians and is one from the most impressive castles in Greece, not only because of its size, but also because its position in the top of abrupt rock. The view from the castle in every direction is amazing.
Samaria Gorge is the longest gorge in Europe and also the most famous trekking gorge. It is located in the South of Chania Prefecture. Τhe gorge is 16 km long, starting at an altitude of 1,222 m at the northern entrance, and ending at the shores of the Libyan Sea in Agia Roumeli.
The most famous part of the gorge is the stretch known as the Iron Gates, where the sides of the gorge close in to a width of only four meters and soar up to a height of 500 m.
LAKE OF KOURNAS
The lake of Kournas, as table of painting, embelishes the prefecture of Chania. The unique natural lake of Crete is found 30 kilometres from Chania near the borders with the prefecture of Rethimno, between hills, a marvellous destination for travellers in winter and in summertime.
Therisso is a historical mountainous village, built in the foot of White Mountains, that is found in distance of 15 km from the city of Chania, with the last 6 km in a impressive gorge, which you can pass by car.