old harbour

Rusletur rundt den gamle Venezianske havnen i


Denne ruten går i området rundt den venezianske havnen i Chania, som er det de aller fleste forbinder med byen.

Ned Halidon mot fontenen, til venstre gjennom "knivgaten" opp på høyden og ned igjen til havenen via "Donkey Steps", fra gammelt av spesielt anlagt for esler.

Mange av disse stedene og bygningene har du nok sett før, som fontenen ved havnen og den store kirken midt i Halidon. Her får du også historien.

Ta det rolig, tusle rundt og føl den historiske stemningen uten å stresse.

Området her er det eldste i Chania, og det sier mye i en by som har historie tilbake nesten 6000 år.

Last inn Google Earth på telefonen din, da kan du enkelt finne frem til de forskjellige stedene.

Ruten er basert på denne websiden, et fantastisk stykke arbeid av Dr. Alexandra Arotti, arkeolog og historiker fra Chania.

Plateia Mitropoleos (Plateia Athinagora)

Address: Halidon, Old Town.

This square is situated in front of the Church of the Trimartyri and was built in the 1950s on the former site of a complex of dilapidated wooden houses occupied by the city’s Christian community, many of which had been destroyed by fire in 1897 and the rubble not removed until some fifty years later.

The square is now lined by cafes on its south side and features several statues of prominenant figures in Crete’s history including Anaghnostis Mantakas, the nineteenth century libertation fighter and Ecumenical Pariarch Athinagoras I, the Patriarch of Constantinople from 1948 to 1972 after whom the square is named.

GPS: 35.305469 24.010479

Church of the Trimartyri

Address: Esodion and Halidon, Old Town.

The Greek Orthodox Cathedral Church of Chania, also referred to as the Church of the Trimartyri, is one of Chania’s most recognizable landmarks situated in front of the Plateia Mitropoleos. It is a three-aisled basilica with a pointed-barrel roof, a campanile in its northwest corner and a facade composed of dressed pillars, cornices and door and window frames.

This modest Neoclassical church is dedicated to the Virgin of the Three Martyrs, the patron saint of Chania and was constructed between 1857 and 1860 on the site of a Venetian church which the Ottoman Turks later converted into a soap factory. Legend claims that an icon of the Presentation of the Virgin was secretly kept in the factory’s storeroom. In the early to mid-nineteenth century, the Virgin miraculously appeared before one of the factory workers, informing him that she did not want her ‘house’ to be a soap factory and in fear, the worker fled with the icon. Soon afterwards, as the legend continues, the child of the factory owner, Mustapha Naili Pasha, fell into a well behind the church and in despair, Mustapha Pasha prayed to the Virgin to save his child in return for which he would donate to the town’s Christians, the soap factory and the funds to construct a church. In answering his prayers, the Virgin saved the child and as a result, the site was bequeathed to the Christian community for the construction of a new church, at the same time as the worker returned the icon of the Presentation of the Virgin.

GPS: 35.305481 24.010623

Old Turkish Hamam

Address: Sarpaki and Halidon 33, Old Town.

Located on the corner of Halidon and Sarpaki Streets, this building, now a clothes shop, features eleven small hemispherical domes and a partially obscured larger dome on its roof and originally served as one of three public hamams or steam bathes built by the Ottoman Turks in Chania (the others being on Katri and Zambeliou Streets).

The structure was surrounded by a portico that was leveled during the week-long German bombardment in 1941. The hamam, itself, was erected on the site of the Venetian Nunnery of the Franciscan Order of St. Clara which is referenced in a number of early maps and written sources as one of three convents established by the Venetians in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, next to a large city water cistern. It was destroyed by the devastating earthquake of 1595 when, according to the first-hand testimony of Venetian physician, Onorio Belli, its campanile came into direct contact with the campanile in the Monastery of St. Francis opposite.Old Turkish Hamam

GPS: 35.305585 24.010411

Roman Catholic Church

Address: Halidon 46, Old Town.

Entered by the vaulted passageway on Halidon Street, Chania’s Roman Catholic Church complex dates to the mid to late nineteenth century and comprises a small seminary or collage that originally served as the first girl’s school in Chania, established in the late 1860s, as well the Church of St. Mary consecrated in 1870, and a pretty courtyard with a statue of St. Francis of Assisi standing in the centre. Don’t Miss: Holy Mass on Saturdays 19:00 and Sundays 10:00. Easter and Christmas Services

GPS: 35.305532 24.010363

Archaeological Museum of Chania (formerly the Venetian Monastery of St. Francis)

Address: Halidon 25, Old Town.

Phone: +30 2821090334.

Hours of Operation: 08:30- 15:00 (closed Mondays).

Admission: €2 (reduced €1)

Special ticketing package for the Archaeological and the Byzantine Museum of Chania: €3.

The Archaeological Museum of Chania was established in 1962 on the premises of the former Venetian Monastery of the Church of St. Francis, once the largest and grandest of the twenty-three Catholic churches built by the Venetians in Chania.

The building’s construction dates to the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries (with early 18th century Turkish modifications), although historical records show that the monastery, or parts of it, remained intact following the 1595 earthquake.

Today, this extensively restored building represents one of the finest examples of Venetian ecclesiastical architecture in Crete with three vaulted naves and finely-dressed Gothic-style windows and entrance. Like most other churches in Chania, both Greek Orthodox and Catholic, the monastery was converted into the Yusaf Pasha Mosque in the mid-seventeenth century following the Turkish invasion of Chania, from which an octagonal fountain for ceremonial washing can still be seen in the small garden alongside the museum.

At the turn of the twentieth century, the site served as Chania’s first “Idaion Andron” cinema and theatre and then as a storage facility for military equipment from WWII to 1962. The Archaeological Museum currently exhibits collections of pottery, inscribed tablets, vases, glassware, jewelry, coins, sculpture, sarcophagi and mosaics all dating from the Neolithic to the Byzantine periods, but with an emphasis on Minoan and Graeco-Roman material, recovered from numerous excavations across west Crete including Kydonia, Idramia, Aptera, Polyrenia, Kissamos and Lissos.

GPS: 35.305642 24.010388

Old Venetian Town Hall

Address: Halidon and Zambeliou, Old Town.

This building, partially hidden by scaffolding, was Chania’s original town hall built by the Venetians sometime in the sixteenth to seventeenth centuries. Here, members of the great Venetian noble families such as the Tsangarolis, Faliers and Renieris, Chania’s ruling elite, congregated together to discuss the affairs of the day.

It was also used as a small military hospital during the Ottoman Turkish period and as the city’s official town hall between 1898 and 1928 when Chania-born Eleftherios Venizelos, Greece’s most well-known politician and Prime Minister, periodically spoke to the assembled crowds below from the balcony.

The town hall remained remarkably intact and in use until WWII when it was bombed by the Germans during a week-long blitzkrieg of Chania in 1941.

GPS: 35.305822 24.010411

Plateia Sintrivani (Harbour Square)

Address: Akti Koundourioti and Karaoli-Dimitriou, Venetian Harbour.

Also referred to as Harbour Square, Sintrivani Square is encircled by cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops with the harbour, itself, opening up immediately to the north.

The focal point of the square is an unremarkable marble fountain that replaced its Venetian predecessor that brought water from the Perivolia Springs five km away, and which is now housed in the garden of the Archaeological Museum. The term “Sintrivani” sounds Italian, but it is an apparently Turkish word meaning “fountain”.

For centuries, a number of smaller fountains were incorporated into the facades of many public and private buildings including the Venetian Town hall, as well as the warehouses and cafes around the port, especially during the Ottoman Turkish period. Until the 1950s, Sintrivani Square was the center of Chania life, a place where public gatherings took place and where ships entered the harbour and passengers and goods disembarked.

The area was also used as a large informal outdoor theatre where epic poems were regularly performed.

GPS: 35.305893 24.010468

Karaoli-Dimitriou to Sifaka Street

Address: Karaoli-Dimitriou to Sifaka, Macharadika.

Karaoli-Dimitriou and Sifaka Streets run in an eastern direction from the corner of Halidon and Zambeliou Streets to Daskaliani Street along the southern perimeter of Chania’s original defense wall.

These two streets, which form one long artery, are known as the “Street of the Knives” because of the shops selling knives, along with customary Cretan embroidery, knitting, copper goods and other souvenir items.

Traditionally, knives have been important items for Cretans not only in terms of use, but also to display as status symbols indicating the ability to defend oneself. On a grimmer note, this area called Macharadika was a centre of slave-trading until the mid to late nineteenth century.

Until this time, sub-Saharan African slaves played an important role in the economy and society of the Ottoman Turkish empire. The first Africans came to Crete following the fall of Venetian Heraklion to the Turks in 1669. After this event, slave markets began to flourish around the island to the extent that Crete became a major slave-trading center.

African slaves, predominantly Muslim and Arabic-speaking, were brought from the continent through Cairo at regular intervals from where they were then transported to Crete, to mainland Greece and to other parts of Europe. Those slaves who remained in Crete, together with many African economic migrants, worked as poor laborers around the harbour, as fishmongers and as slaughterhouse assistants.

Photographs and drawings indicate that they were poorly dressed, often barefoot and lived in small rooms and shacks just outside the town walls in the present-day Koum Kapi neighborhood.

Byzantine Wall

Address: Karaoli-Dimitriou and Sifaka, Macharadika.

Following the course of Karaoli-Dimitriou and Sifaka Streets are the impressive remains of the city’s former Byzantine fortification wall which dates to the tenth century AD and which was built on earlier Hellenistic foundations.

For centuries, this defense wall enclosed the city’s acropolis or citadel where Chania’s (or Kydonia as it was then known) administration, mercantile center and wealthy neighborhoods were located from the Hellenistic through to the Ottoman Turkish periods.

All of the city’s important public and private buildings were to be found on this fortified hill now called Kastelli including the Venetian Rector’s Palace (housing also the Venetian administation’s Archives and Treasury), the Cathedral (Duomo) of Santa Maria, the Dominican Convent of Our Lady of the Miracles, as well as many wealthy private residences.

Archaeologists agree that this wall was constructed soon after the short-lived Arab occupation of Crete (824- 961 AD) and the re-instatement of Byzantine around the island. Here, the Byzantines rebuilt and re-strengthened the city’s pre-existing defenses after Arab settlers from Andalusia in Spain and Alexandria in Egypt invaded Crete following a period of widespread neglect from Constantinople.

They controlled the island for well over a century, using Crete as a base from which to launch pirate attacks and raids around the Greek islands and Greek mainland. After several unsuccessful attempts, the Byzantines re-conquered Crete in 961 AD following a bloody siege at the Khandak fortress in Heraklion (then called Khandax)and set about strengthening the city’s defenses by robbing and re-using all of the available building materials from the existing Hellenistic and Graeco-Roman structures around the city to erect a new defensive wall around the city (then confined to Kastelli).

This explanation accounts for the marble and limestone fluted column drums, pilasters, architrave blocks with attachment tenons and large rectangular ashlar blocks, all the remains of palaces, temples and public buildings from every period up to this date which are visible in the wall.

In recent years, the Greek Archaeological Service has been been undergoing an extensive ongoing conservation project to preserve the wall, and to expose its earlier Hellenistic foundations on which this wall is built which date to the third century BC.

GPS: 35.305829 24.010793

Venetian Rector’s Palace, Archives and Treasury

Address: Lithinon 47-51, Kastelli.

The Venetian Rector’s Palace at the end of Lithinon Street dates to the early seventeenth century and served several functions, namely, the residence of the Venetian Rector, and the Treasury and Archives for the island’s Venetian administration.

The ground floor and part of the upper floor of the palazzo (as it was called in historical sources and maps of the period) survive, much modified in the Ottoman Turkish period, along with the adjacent vaulted passageway leading to an enclosed courtyard.

On approaching the main facade of this building on Lithinon, several unusual architectural elements are immediately discernible to the visitor.

The dressed doorway and the overlying window openings of the building appear to have been shifted to the right and are set away from the relieving arch above, principally to accommodate an internal staircase when the property was converted in later times.

The Latin inscription above this doorway states: “On the instructions of the government, the Archive was built with an imposing form in the year of our Lord 1624”. The Anno Domini appears to be out of place, usually positioned before the date and not after the date as in the case of this particular inscription which suggests that the whole entrance was dismantled and then re-positioned out-of-place following Turkish modifications to the building.

Walking through the vaulted passageway to the right of the main facade, visitors come to an enclosed courtyard surrounded by private residences. On the left-hand side is the original Treasury of the Venetian administration, an important building as evidenced by its grand and richly decorated doorway typical of the then-popular Venetian Mannerist style.

Here, the doors are made of wood, the favored material used by the Ottoman Turks and are most likely original. In the middle of these doors is a small Hand of Fatima door knocker, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, and a symbol appropriated from Turkey and Egypt together with the Evil Eye and Hamsa, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

These door knockers adorn many houses in the Old Town and are used to ward off bad luck and evil spirits. Incidentally, the Turkish Government Building, also the residence of the pasha, was erected in the same area a few metres to the north of this complex between 1845 to 1850, but was destroyed by fire in 1897.

GPS: 35.310363 24.010708

Ayias Ekaterinis Square

Address: Kanevaro 29, Kastelli.

Ayias Ekaterinis Square is located in the middle of Kanevaro Street.

For centuries, this square marked the site of the Dominican Catholic Church of Santa Maria, also known as the Duomo (itself built on top of the foundations of a large Early Christian Byzantine basilica) that was surrounded by various ecclesiastical buildings including the residence of the Archbishop of Chania.

Like most churches, the Duomo was converted into the Musa Pasha mosque during the Ottoman Turkish occupation and later, functioned as a state-owned warehouse.

During the week-long German bombardment in 1941, all structures in this area were flattened and the rubble not cleared away until the 1950s. Out of this rubble appeared pottery sherds that were subsequently identified as Minoan.

On the basis of this pottery, together with a number of references in several early Classical sources including Homer’s the Odyssey and Aristotle’s Book of Politics that refer to the “Minoan city of Kydonia…..the mother of all Cretan cities”, archaeologists believed this site to be Minoan Kydonia.

The square was excavated in the 1960s by a Greek-Swedish team, revealing a suite of rectilinear-shaped houses dating to the Late Minoan I Period (also called the New Palace Period) at around 1600 to 1100 BC.

These structures exhibit fairly sophisticated design and construction techniques including flagstone paving on the floors, multiple rooms with internal door frames, a stone staircase leading to a second story and monumental entrances with large ashlar blocks at the thresholds.

The houses also look out onto narrow, winding paved streets much like the streets in other parts of the Old Town today.

Similarly-designed houses in the Minoan sites, Knossos, Mallia and Phaistos, have been found flanking the palaces of the Minoan kings and for this reason, it has been concluded that these structures were the residences of courtiers and aristocrats who lived in close proximity to the grand palace.

While these remains date to around 1600 BC, archaeological evidence suggests that many of the houses were altered in the period post-dating 1600-1450 BC (called the Minoan Post-Palatian Period) after a catastrophic event, most likely the volcanic eruption on the nearby island of Thera (Santorini), precipitated the gradual decline of the Minoan civilization on Crete.

GPS: 35.310174 24.011054

Dominican Nunnery of Santa Maria Dei Miracoli

Address: Aghiou Markou 16, Kastelli.

On nearby Aghiou Markou Street are the remains of the Nunnery of Our Lady of the Miracles designed by Marussa Mengano in 1615 for the Dominican nuns of Chania.

Although this complex today lies partly in ruin with another section incorporated into a private property, now a boutique hotel, some of the covered passageway, as well as a row of cloistered arches and paved arcade still survive.

To the north of the cloister is an enclosed courtyard and garden that utilizes some of the eastern Byzantine defense wall which was no longer in use when the convent was built.

Adjacent to this convent was a large aisleless Venetian-built church (called a Katholikon) dedicated to Santa Maria of the Miracles with a gently curving, pointed-barrel roof.

All that remains today is the south wall of the nave and part of the curving roof, and several niches.

Later Turkish alterations to these buildings are apparent in the blocking up of particular openings and the overlaying of arches under and above the earlier Venetian ones when the church was converted to a mosque.

The convent and church were partly demolished following the aerial bombardment in 1941 and then again in the 1950s in keeping with the arrangements of the new town plan.

GPS: 35.310383 24.011181

Turkish Government Building

Address: Plateia Aghiou Titou, Kastelli.

At the end of Aghiou Markou Street is an imposing and well-preserved structure originally built as a prison and guard-house that formed part of the Ottoman Turkish Government Building and residence of the Pasha.

It is now owned by the Polytechnic University of Crete.

GPS: 35.310548 24.011019

New Government House

Address: Plateia Aghiou Titou, Kastelli.

Immediately to the west of the Turkish prison and guard-house on Plateia Aghiou Titou is another building owned by the Polytechnic University of Crete that stands in front of an open car-park area offering one of the best panoramic views of Chania’s Old Town.

Despite its dilapidated state, this building has an elegant and grand Neoclassical appearance that seems befitting given its former use as the New Government House erected in 1898 by the “Great European Powers” of France, Britain and Russia who briefly oversaw the governance of Crete following the expulsion of the Ottoman Turks in 1898.

It was erected next to the site of the large Turkish Government Building, the wooden ‘Konaki” that served as the administrative offices and residence of the pasha until it was burnt down in 1897/98 and which stood where the car park is now located.

GPS: 35.310418 24.010913

Venetian Donkey Steps

Address: Plateia Aghiou Titou, Kastelli/Venetian Harbour.

Leading from the Plateia Aghiou Titou in Kastelli down to the Venetian harbour-front, Akti Tombazi, are a set of wide stone steps which were built for a very specific purpose.

The Venetians specifically designed these steps not for humans, but for donkeys.

All of the steps are double-width so the donkey could place all four legs up onto one step before moving on. The steps are also made of granite chippings to prevent the donkeys from slipping, while the edges of the steps are encased in white limestone so that the donkeys (and humans) could easily see the risers in the dark.

GPS: 35.310511 24.011103