Chania, is the picturesque and beautiful city of Western Crete, the cultural capital city of Crete, according to many, although the title is held by the more urban Heraklion. Charming and attractive, one of the most alluring and romantic cities in Greece, Chania is full of reminders of the past at every corner. It is situated 20 minutes away from Chania Airport and Chania Port.
Chania is the second larger city in Crete, with the second bigger population after Heraklion. It is divided into two different sections, both featuring an important part of its history and development: the new Town, which is the commercial and business hub of Chania Prefecture is more urban and modern, although still quite well appointed, and the Old Town, the most breathtaking area of Chania, built around the Venetian Port.
The Old Town of Chania
The Old Town is extraordinary attractive with its narrow streets and the unique architecture that depicts the influences of foreign domination in previous centuries. The image of the town remains unspoiled, bringing back memories to the elder and fascinating younger generations. The old city clusters around the Venetian port that offers a lovely place to romantics for leisurely strolls and enjoyable dinner by the sea.
The Venetian Port is the most recognizable landmark of the city and one of the most photographed spots of the Prefecture, offering magnificent views all day long. The districts of Chania Old City retain their Venetian aura and the very charming nobility of its past. Architectural finesse and style, narrow paved alleys and buildings from different eras compose an ideal setting for morning and evening walks, while some of the districts, such as Halepa, still reflect their rich history and tantalized past.
History of Chania
The city of Chania is the ideal starting point to a long historical route within the prefecture. The once upon a time governing centre of Crete, featuring long times of occupations by Arabs, Venetian and Turks, Chania is a city of rich history and glorious moments since the antiquity. This colorful and evident blend of civilizations, combined with the famous Cretan spirit makes up the city of Chania.
It dates back to the Neolithic Era and used to be one of the main communities of the Minoans, as proven by recent excavations in Kasteli. Chania was mostly known as Kydonia in the past and its story is indispensably associated with conquerors: the venetians built the Acropolis and their own Cathedral, and fortified Kastelli, although in 1645 Turks managed to conquer the region, after two month siege. The Turks were expelled in 1898. Crete was officially united with Greece in 1913 and since then Chania is considered one of the most beautiful and important Greek cities.
Places Worth Visiting in Chania
Chania prefecture features diverse landscape, with amazing beaches, mostly at the southern part, graphic bays and lovely towns and villages. The Venetian Harbor and the Old City are the starting points when visiting Chania, although along with a car rental you can easily wander around the prefecture and admire its scenic routes and picturesque villages.
The old town and the picturesque houses and streets, the Firkas fort with rich cultural activities during summer months, and the lighthouse are absolute must sees. The Archaeological Museum, the naval museum, the “Agora” or Municipal Market in Chania and the beaches around the city should be among your top priorities, although you should not skip visiting the harbor in the evening for ouzo and raki, or Apokoronou Street in the morning for bougatsa pie.
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