The old town
Chania was a favorite hangout for pirates. The 400-year Venetian occupation deeply influenced the city’s architecture. That influence is evident in the complex of the city’s narrow alleys, the Venetian castle, the moats around it, and the old port. The Venetian city, which was erected over the ruins of the ancient city of Kydonia, was during that era the capital of the whole island.
The palace of the Venetian governor along with the villas and mansions of the Venetians form part of the Venetian castle (called “Kastelli”). These same buildings housed the Turkish officials, pashas and beys, during the Turkish occupation.
A day in the old town
Roam in the alleys; visit the archaeological museum and the nautical museum; they are both worth it. The church of St. Francis (Aghios Fragkiskos, in Greek), the city’s biggest Venetian church now hosts the archaeological museum. In the nautical museum, situated at the entrance of the old port (at the “Firka” Fort), many family relics are put on display. You will also see other objects that tell the tale of the Fort’s struggle through the ages. You should also consider a visit to the Cathedral (on Halidon Street), the Catholic church (across from the Cathedral), the Folk Art Museum (adjacent to the Catholic church), the Jewish synagogue, and the Kiutsuk Hassan mosque (in the fountain square of the old port) where art exhibitions take place frequently.
Take a walk down Skridlof Street (the “leather goods stock-market” of Chania) and Sifaka Street (the traditional cutler’s shops are the main attraction here), stroll along Cannevaro Street and Zabeliou Street in the Muslim neighborhood. Another museum you could visit is the Byzantine museum on Theotokopoulou Street, one more picturesque alley with many cute little shops.
Visit the Municipal Market, a beautiful indoor market, built in the early 20th century, where you will find an endless variety of spices and cheeses (try the Cretan gruyere – from goat milk, and the mizithra – a local tasty cheese spread). To the east and very close to the Market, go down Daskalogianni Street and enjoy the shade of the enormous plane-tree (dates back to the early 19th century) in Saint Nicholas’s square, while you have a coffee or taste some local treats in a small tavern.
Getting closer to the modern city of Chania, if you care for some shopping, walk the streets Papandreou and Tzanakaki since they demarcate the city's commercial center. And if you find yourself in desperate need of some peace and quiet once more, visit the Municipal Park, an ideal place for families with children.
Chania, a very special place
Many would argue that Chania is the most charming, evocative and romantic city of Greece. It’s a lively city all year round, with a great variety of cultural activities and night life, and marked traditional strokes. It's a living and breathing historic monument.
In the city and in the wider region there are many archaeological sites and museums, Byzantine and Catholic churches, monasteries; for those interested in architecture the historic area of Halepa offers a broad selection of unique neoclassical buildings of the 19th century.
If you just fancy a nice walk, the old town and the area of the early 20th century Municipal Market is your turf; in combination with the hospitality of the locals they stand out as the perfect place for recreation and wandering.
Now, if nature is what inspires you, Chania features a panorama you’ll cherish. While to the south of this blessed land the grandeur of nature is manifested in the alternations of mountain masses and impressive gorges, all around the region there are countless beaches of exotic beauty that will leave you breathless.
We invite you to Chania; a crossroad of civilizations, a paradise of the senses!