Chania lies along the north-west coast of Crete and is the second biggest city in the island after Heraklion. The old town is located on and around the hill of Kasteli and was built over the ruins of the Minoan city Kydonia, an ancient town founded by King Cydon, a son of Hermes an Akakallis (King’s Minos daughter). It is surrounded by the Byzantine walls, the Venetian walls and the sea while Homer mentioned Chania as one of the most important cities of Crete.
Chania was substantially developed in the Byzantine era, when it was fortified. Later, the Venetians turned the city into a great castle with strong walls. After the liberation of Crete from the Turks in 1898 and during the Cretan State autonomy, Chania became officially the capital of Crete (till 1971). The glory of Chania reached its peak during the hoisting of the Greek flag in the fortress of Firkas in 1913, marking the final Union of Crete with Greece, after centuries of slavery. Chania played also an important role in the outcome of the struggle against the Germans in World War II, as the nearby airport of Maleme was the epicenter of the glorious Battle of Crete.
Among the years, Chania keeps alive the imprint of the various cultures that have passed through the centuries. The distinctive color of the old town, the remarkable Venetian architecture of the old harbor along with the numerous archaeological sites have established Chania as one of the most beautiful towns in the world.
Don’t leave Chania without seeing:
- The ancient Kydonia
- The old harbor, the Light House and the Venetian Arsenals
- The old town of Chania
- The walls of Chania and the Firkas Fortress
- The municipal market of Chania
- The cathedral of the Virgin Mary
- Venizelos’ family tombs
- The municipal garden of Chania