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Info on Chania

Chania Old Harbour

Chania is a city of unique beauty with reminders of the past at every turn. The old city is surrounded by the Venetian walls of the 15th century, which are an excellent representation of the Venetian architecture. Old Venetian buildings that are beautifully renovated fascinate with the magic of the era and allow you to travel back in time. The narrow streets lead you among the Venetian and Turkish buildings indicating the passage of conquerors of yesteryear. The Old Harbor, with its long Venetian pier and lighthouse remind you of the times when Chania was a large commercial city. The harbor today is too small to be of service for modern day needs, the port of Souda now serves the city.

ChaniaChania is built on the site of ancient Kidonia. According to the myth, the city was built by Kidon, grandson of Minos, son of Hermes. Archeological excavations proved the existence of a Minoan settlement. In 69 BC it was conquered by the Romans and held by them till 325 AD, when it passed to the Byzantines. In 823 AD they built a city on the hill named Kasteli, which was called "la Canea". The first defensive wall was built around 1300 AD. In the 16th century this wall was reinforced and extended to include the new quarters of the growing city. Chania experienced commercial and economic success and it was called the Venice of the east. The new walls were not sufficient enough to prevent the Turks from attacking. Chania was the first city that was occupied by them in 1645 AD.

The Mosques and the Turkish baths and the buildings with the grille windows are all from the Turkish rule. In 1850, Chania was declared the capital of the island. It stayed the capital during this period and through the Period of Independence of Crete (1893-1913) and after the union with Greece until 1972.

The official union of Crete with the rest of Greece, December 13, 1913, was celebrated with the raising of the Greek flag on Firka Fort. This led to a cease in the turmoil and hard oppression on the proud and brave Cretan people. This pride and bravery was last called on to fight against German occupation, when Chania was once again turned into a battlefield in 1951 (battle of Crete). With distinguished gallantry, the residents battled with 3,500 German parachutist in the vicinity of Malent (20 km west of Chania).

The new town, which is where the day to day business of Chania goes on, with its shops, offices, post office and banks. The renowned indoor market, bus station and the Old Town, built around the Venetian Harbor with numerous and picturesque narrow streets displaying the influence of decades of foreign domination. Evening in Chania can be as sedate or as active as you choose. In the evening the Old Harbor is the center of life in Chania, where people come out to have a drink and watch the world pass by. In the summer months, most social life takes place of doors. Eating possibilities range from charming garden tavernas, often set in the ruins of some majestic building of the past to simple village kafenions with good basic home cooked food at incredibly low prices.

The vast number of bars and cafes offer everything from trendy to traditional. You'll find every type of music played, popular Greek, Jazz, Latin, Hard Rock and Euro Pop - whatever you want, you'll find it somewhere in town. All partying tends to start late - winding down around 5 am!

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