Sightseeing & Museums
The Municipal Market is located in the center of the city of Chania. It was first operated in 1913, while Eleftherios Venizelos was the Prime Minister of Greece. It is shaped as a cross and has 4 entrances, one in each wing. 76 shops are under its roof, among them, butcher shops, fish shops, pharmacies, as well as various shops selling local products. Since 1980 it is characterized as a preserved monument by the Ministry of Civilization.
VENETIAN PORT-OLD HARBOUR
The old Venetian Port was constructed between 1320 and 1356 by the Venetians, in order to protect the city. Starting from Akti Enoseos, you may easily see and admire the lighthouse that is located at the end of the walls. It was originally built in 1570 and reconstructed for the last time in in 1830, taking the shape that we know it today. Its height is 21m. and its light goes out 7 miles. It is the oldest lighthouse saved, not only in Greece, but also in the Mediterranean. You may visit it by walking along the walls from the east side of the old port, but it is not allowed to enter, due to its sensitive structure. The view from the lighthouse is spectacular, while watching the sunset there will prove to be an unforgettable experience.
Walking away from the sea and towards the interiors of the old port, you will be enchanted by the picturesque narrow streets, the endless shops and the peculiar buildings of the old town, heritage of all the conquerors of the island.
Special reference should be made to the Neoria, shipyards that were constructed between 1467 and 1599. Originally 17 were built, but gradually 9 were demolished. Today a group of 7 consecutive shipyards are preserved, as well as 1 that is located on the west, called the Big Arsenali that today hosts the Center of Architecture of the Mediterranean.
Firkas is a Venetian fort constructed in the 16th century, located at the Northwest edge of the port, with purpose to protect the city and the port itself. In 1913, inside Firkas (Turkish word for Fort), the prime minister of Greece, Eleftherios Venizelos declared the union of Crete to the rest of Greece. Today, in the interior you may find the Nautical Museum, as well as a small theatre.
The square of Splantzia is in an ideal location by the center of Chania, just beside the old town and the area of Koum Kapi. It is a beautiful place with great history. It was the Turks gathering place, during the Turkish occupation, as Syntrivani square was for the Cretans. At the center of the square there is the beautiful temple of Saint Nikolas, that during those days it was converted to a mosque, with its minaret still preserved nowadays. Under the high plane tree (where many Christians were executed during the Turkish period) and near the elegant Arabic kiosk at the center of the district, there was an underground water tank.
Today Splantzia is one of the most popular parts of the city that attracts variable kinds of people, with its one of a kind cafes and little restaurants.
Very close to the Municipal Market, there is one of the most commercial streets in the city: Skrindlof or Skrydlof Street with several shops side by side. At the point that it meets Halidon Street, the area takes the name “Stivanadika”, after the word “stivania”, the traditional boots of the Cretan costume. In “Stivanadika” apart from the boots, you will find lots of leather accessories and various souvenirs.
In the peninsula of Akrotiri, at the hill of Prophet Elias, the graves of Eleftherios and Sofoklis Venizelos are located. Eleftherios Venizelos ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleftherios_Venizelos ) had expressed the desire to be buried at this point, which he did, in 1936. Later on, in 1965 his son, Sofoklis Venizelos that was also a prime minister of Greece from 1943- 1952, was buried beside him . Vary close to their graves, a statue of liberty made of rocks was constructed, that symbolizes the struggles of the Cretans towards their freedom. The whole hill is surrounded with magnificent gardens, benches and paths and together with the magnificent view makes it an ideal meeting point attracting thousands of visitors.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM OF CHANIA
The Archeological Museum of Chania is located in the old town center, at Chalidon Street and accommodates the archeological collection of the whole municipality of Chania. Findings from the larger area of the city are exhibited here, helping the guest reap a clear image of the history of the Western Crete: Ceramics, lapidary, seal engraving, sculpturing, metalwork, golden jewelry and coins, are presented in a chronological order in the display windows of the museum.
The museum is open every day, except from Mondays, from 08:30 until 15.00.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM OF HERAKLIO
The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is regarded as one of Europe''s most important museums. The present building was constructed between 1933 and 1937 to plans by P. Karantinos, on the site of the imposing Venetian Franciscan friary destroyed by an earthquake in 1856.
The museum brings together archaeological finds from all over Crete, covering over 5500 years of the island''s history. Pride of place is given to the treasures of Minoan civilisation, the entire historical course of which can thus be appreciated. Justly regarded as the home of Minoan civilisation par excellence, the museum houses the most important collection of Minoan antiquities the world over.
Knossos is the site of the most important and better known palace of Minoan civilization. According to tradition, it was the seat of the legendary king Minos. The Palace is also connected with thrilling legends, such as the myth of the Labyrinth with the Minotaur, and the story of Daidalos and Icaros.
The site was continuously inhabited from the Neolithic period (7000-3000 B.C.) until Roman times.
Intensive habitation occured mostly in the Minoan period, when the so-called first (19th-17th centuries B.C.) and second palaces (16th-14th centuries B.C.) were built along with luxurious houses, a hospice and various other structures. After its partial destruction in 1450 B.C., Knossos was settled by Mycenaeans from the Greek Mainland.
The city flourished again during the Hellenistic period (sanctuaries of Glaukos, Demeter, other sanctuaries, chamber tombs, north cemetery, defensive towers) and in 67 B.C. it was captured by the Roman Quintus Caecilius Metelus Creticus. The "Villa of Dionysos", a private house with splendid mosaics was built in the same period.
Knossos was discovered in 1878 by Minos Kalokairinos. Arthur Evans conducted systematic excavations at the site between 1900 and 1931, bringing to light the palace, a large section of the Minoan city, and the cemeteries. Since then, the site and the surrounding area have been excavated by the British School of Archaeology at Athens and the 23rd E.P.C.A.
The restoration of the palace to its present form was carried out by Arthur Evans. The interventions were mostly imposed by the need to preserve the monuments uncovered.