Talking about Chania brings to mind images of typical Mediterranean landscape blended with rich Cretan tradition and the historic heritage of more than 3000 years. Several civilizations have left their traces on the town, either through trade, religion or conquest.
Roman times: Visit the Archeological Museum of Chania , featuring artifacts from Neolithic to Roman times :
First it was the Minoans who founded the port settlement of “Kydonia” -meaning quince in Greek- creating rivarlies with smaller nearby cities and attracting Dorian Greeks through trade. In 69BC, the Romans conquered the Cretan population granting them however priveleges of independent city-state.
Byzantine era: Visit the Byzantine fortification surrounding the Kasteli hilltop
It was then through the split of the Roman empire and its split to the Western and Eastern part that the city came under Byzantine rule. That was until the Arabs invaded the island giving the city the name Al Hanim, “the Inn”, having the same meaning as the modern name Chania.
Venetian Domination: St. Rocco’s church
The Byzantines soon recaptured Chania however, building fortifications and reinforcing the Christian religion until the fall of the empire to crusaders in 1204. The city was then sold for 100 silver marks to the Venetians who ruled the city for more than 400 years allowing it to flourish culturally and economically. It was in 1645 when the Turks seized Chania, following a two months siege, and tried to root out the Christian element by converting most churches to mosques some of which still surviving to date.
Ottoman Dominaton: Yali Mosque, currently housing various exhibitions and cultural events
In 1913 Crete was united with the rest of Greece, bringing Chania back to its Hellenic roots. Since then and surviving from the scars of the second World War, Chania, fuelled by its local mainly agricultural economy grew to become a major touristic destination.
Enjoy a stroll around the city’s landmarks and to experience strongly the unique cultural crossroads of Chania where antiquity, middle-ages, Renaissance and modern tradition meet.