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ANCIENTS SIGHTSEEINGS AND MONUMENTS

Ancient Kydonia (Proto-Minoan settlement of Kasteli)

The modern city of Chania is founded in the site of a significant ancient Minoan settlement, Kydonia or ku-do-ni-ja as it appears on Linear B script. According to the tradition, Kydonia was one of the three cities founded by King Minos in Crete.

The settlement that is presently excavated in the city of Chania has as center the hill of Kasteli and is the most important of the prefecture. Large habitations with well-built rooms, elegant floors with circular cavities- fireplaces, coated walls with deep red mortar, door frames and ceramics of excellent quality are some of the findings that indicate the existence of a significant proto-Minoan centre. The extended excavations in the archaeological site of Kasteli, which constitutes one of the most important monuments of the prehistoric period of Crete, are carried out since 1966 until today by the 25th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities. Some of the most important findings of the excavation are available in Chania Archaeological Museum.

Municipal Unit: Chania
Address: “Kasteli” hill and “Splanzia” district, old city of Chania
Working hours: 08:00-15:00

Ancient Aptera

Aptera is located about 15 km. away from the city of Chania and above Souda Bay, and during the Minoan period was one of the most important city-states of Crete. It is located on en extended plateau with altitude 200m and astonishing view of Souda Bay.

Its history begins from the Minoan Period (3500- 1070 BC), however, the most visible archaeological traces in the ruins belong to the Geometric Period (1000- 685 BC), the Hellenistic Period (323- 67 BC) and the Roman Empire (67 BC – 324 AD).

Fortification, aqueducts, public baths, and graves are some of the findings the visitor can see. The most impressive of the preserved ancient buildings are the groups of Roman reservoirs that together with many wells and tanks served the needs of the city and supplied the facilities of the public and private baths. The city had a theater, which is not completely revealed yet.

There was a wall for the protection of the city, while today has survived a length of about 4 kilometers. During the period 1866-69 the Turks built the castle in order to suppress the Cretan Revolution. Two castles of unique historical interest are located in a small distance from antiquities. The first is Palaikastro that was built by the Turks for the Revolution of 1866 and the second one is Itzedin castle that is located in Kalami. Itzedin was built in 1872, allocated barracks, hospital and other facilities, while it was used up to recently as a prison for political prisoners. During the past few years, the 25th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities carries out extended excavations in the archaeological site of Aptera and the surrounding area.

Municipal Unit: Souda
Address: local Community of Aptera

The Byzantine Wall of Chania

The Byzantine Wall surrounds the hill of Kasteli, where the first inhabiting of the city is located. It was built in 12th century and its outline is irregular with longitudinal axle from the East to the West, where its two central gates were located.

The Wall consists of rectilinear parts, interrupted by small oblong or polygonal towers, and is founded over the ruins of an older fortification of the Hellenistic period. The visitor can see it during the tour in the roads of the old city of Chania.

Municipal Unit: Chania
Address: Karaoli Dimitriou Street, Old City of Chania

Center of Mediterranean Architecture (Grand Arsenal)

The Grand Arsenal is the last of the 17 Neoria to the west. Its construction started in 1585 by the Intendant Alvise Grimani. A new era began for the Grand Arsenal with the addition of the second flour in 1872 during the Turkish period. The building hosted several important public services and authorities.

Nowadays, it has been transformed from a roofless ruin into an impressive building that hosts various events and exhibitions. Since 2002, after its reformation, it hosts the Center of Mediterranean Architecture, organizing important cultural events, artistic exhibitions and international events related to architecture.

Municipal Unit: Chania
Address: Defkalionos Street, Venetian Port of Chania
Tel.: +30 28210 40201
Working hours: 08:00-15:00

Firka Fortress

The fortress Revellino del Porto on the northwest side of the port of Chania was constructed by Venetians to prevent any enemy danger for the port. Its construction began in 1610 and completed a few years before the fall of the city in Turks in 1645.

The interior was organized to barracks and ammunition storage areas. It was also the headquarters of the Army Commander of the city. In about the middle of the courtyard, there is a large domed water tank that gathered rain water from the roofs. On the northern side of the wall there are six arched openings that included cannons for the protection of the entrance of the harbour.

During the Turkish period Revellino was used as barrack (Firka = barrack), for that reason the name Firka is still used today. The arched openings were used as prisons from the Turkish period to the civil war. On the corner watch tower of the Fortress the Greek flag of the Unification of Crete was raised on December 1st 1913 in an official ceremony. Today, at the entrance of the Fortress is situated the Maritime Museum of Crete.

Municipal Unit: Chania
Address: Akti Kountourioti, Venetian Port of Chania.
Tel.:+30 28210 91875
Working hours: Daily 9:00 – 14:00 (01/11 – 31/03) / Daily 09:00 – 19:00 (01/04 – 31/10)

Entrance of the Renier Mansion

One of the most important constructions of the Venetian Period is the Entrance of Renier Mansion. It is a palace (Palazzo) of the homonym Venetian-Cretan family with a small family chapel of Agios Nikolaos and the impressive entrance with the Latin sign and the blazon of the family.

The largest part of this building is still preserved with some alterations. Over the arched gate of the entrance, the inscription is still preserved: “MULTA TULIT, FECITQUE AT STUDUIT DULCES/PATER, SUDAVIT ET ALSIT SEMPER REQUIES CERENAT, MDC VIII. IDI B. IAN” (“Many things he brought, done and studied, the sweet father, who worked hard. May he rest in peace 1608”).

Municipal Unit: Chania
Address: Moshon Street (Akti Kountourioti Side Street), Old City of Chania.

Gate and Rampart Sabbionara

The rampart Sabbionara still preserves its Turkish name “koum – kapi (Kum Kapisi = the Gate of the Sand), is located on the northeast corner of the Venetian walls and is completely constructed in the sea. On the front of the rampart, the circular Venetian emblem of the lion of Agios Marcos is still preserved. It is the only preserved gate today and its external side had been modified during the Turkish period.

It is the only preserved gate today and its external side had been modified during the Turkish period. The port of Chania cannot be used by modern ships because of the shallow water, which contributed in preserving its old character, maintaining the signs of its conquerors till today.

Municipal Unit: Chania
Address: Epimenidou side road, Old City of Chania.

Venetian Neoria

During the Venetian occupation (1204 – 1669), the need for the closer presence of Venetians in Crete made them construct a large number of “Neoria” (arsenal) in Chania, where the ships would be repaired during the winter. The construction of the first two “Neoria” in Chania was completed in 1526. In 1593, sixteen “Neoria” had already been constructed.

In 1599, the south “Neoria” complex was completed with the construction of the 17th “Neorio”.  In 1607, during the expansion of the northeast rampart, begins the construction of 5 more “Neoria” at the heart of the port to the east. Two of them were completed, however, only the walls to the arch of the third one were constructed. During the Turkish period, the lack of maintenance works in the port and the degradation of the role of “Neoria” also resulted in the alteration of the original function of “Neoria” which were now used as military storage spaces. From the initial “Neoria” complex with 17 “Neoria”, nine were demolished.

Nowadays, a group of 7 continuous domes is preserved-along with another one further to the west, the “Grand Arsenal” (today, the Centre of Mediterranean Architecture). Only two “Neoria” are preserved intact from “Moro” complex, at the heart of the port, while in the position of the demolished “Neoria”, the stone building of the new customs of Chania was constructed, which is today surrounded by two squares.

Municipal Unit: Chania
Address: Venetian Port of Chania

Giali Tzamisi

Giali Tzamisi is the unique preserved Mosque of the city and was built during the second half of the 17th century. It is located at the Venetian Port of Chania. The Mosque Kioutsouk (meaning “little”) Hassan or Giali Tzamisi (meaning, the Mosque of the Seaside), as it is commonly known, is a unique sample of islamic art of Renaissance.

It was built to honour the first Sergeant of Chania, Kioutsouk Hassan. Nowadays, the Mosque has been totally renovated and is used as a place for events and exhibitions mainly during the summer period, constituting one of the charakteristic buildings of the old port of Chania.

Municipal Unit: Chania
Address: Akti Tompazi, Venetian Port of Chania

The Egyptian Lighthouse

The Egyptian Lighthouse, which is one of the oldest in the world, prevails in the old Port of Chania. The sea-tossed stone lighthouse  that is located at the edge of the breakwater, is not only the “guard” of the old Venetian port, but also its most famous jewel.

The lighthouse was constructed by the Venetians at the end of 16th century. It has been reconstructed by the Egyptians during the period 1830-40, when English had assigned Crete to the regent of Egypt, Mehmet Ali. At the end of the Ottoman empire, the project had been completed with the addition of the ladder in its east side, as well as pipes, through which passes sea water under the surface of its base. The lighthouse has a hight of 21m, height from sea surface 26m and its light reaches a distance of 7 miles. Its base is oktagonal, the middle part has 16 angles, while the top part is circular.

Municipal Unit: Chania
Address: Venetian Port of Chania

The Minaret of Agios Nikolaos

The church of Agios Nikolaos, located in Splantzia Square, was built before 1320, during the Venetian period, as a monastery of Dominican Order. After the dominance of Turks in Chania in 1645, the church was transformed into a mosque and was given the name Hiougkar Tzamisi (the Emperor’s mosque), in honour of sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Imbraim.

The sword of the Turk dervish, who was the first one that entered in the city, was considered to be blessed and wonder-working, and was reserved there. Its importance is highlighted by the existence of two- instead of one- balconies on the minaret on the southwest corner of the temple. The morphological elements of the minaret are of great interest, as they follow the Venetian tradition.

Municipal Unit: Chania
Address:  Splantzia Square

The Municipal Market

The Municipal Market of Chania, the large building of 4000 square meters in the centre of Chania is the “heart” of the city. Its foundation started on August 14, 1911, at the place  that was the main rampart of the fortification during the Venetian period, and the construction of the building was completed during the second half of 1913.

The official opening ceremony was performed by the Prime Minister of Greece, Eleftherios Venizelos, three days after the unification of Crete with Greece, on December 4, 1913. The Municipal Market is cross shaped and has four doors, one in each ward, that close to provide security at the shops that are hosted there. Today at the building of the Municipal Market are hosted many shops that sell local products and souvenirs. The Municipal Market constitutes an architectural jewel for Chania and is one of the most impressive markets in Balkans.

Municipal Unit: Chania
Address:  Sofokli Venizelou Square

The graves of Venizelos family

The graves of Venizelos family is one of the most popular places that offer a panoramic view of Chania, only a few kilometres east of the city, on the road to Akrotiri and airport. Here are located the graves of the charismatic Greek politician, and seven times Prime Minister of Greece, Eleftherios Venizelos, and his son, Sofoklis Venizelos, who was also Prime Minister of Greece from 1943 to 1952.

Nearby is located the small church of Profitis Ilias and the statue of Spyrus Kagialedakis or Kagiales, who on February 9, 1897 (Revolution of 1897), during the bombing of the revolted Cretans by the fleet of the great forces, he made his body flagstaff to raise the Greek flag that had been dropped by the bombshells of the ships.

Municipal Unit: Akrotiri
Address:  Profitis Ilias, Akrotiri

By www.gem-resorts.com

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