The Chania prefecture is the westernmost region on the island of Crete, and within its borders a myriad of adventures, sights and sounds await the visitor to this humble, yet sure of itself destination.
The town of Chania, sharing the name of the prefecture, is the capital of the area, and its charm is undeniable.
Chania Town is likely the best-preserved city in Crete, maintaining Venetian and Turkish structures from eras gone, visible while strolling within narrow, labyrinth alleyways, many of which have been converted to small hotels, guest houses, restaurants, shops or homes.
The city's old town offers a feel of the past, whereas the new town offers a more cosmopolitan edge.
The city of Chania is divided into two parts: the old town and the modern city which is larger. The old town is situated next to the old harbor while the modern city surrounds the entire old town.
Chania city is built on the area of Minoan Kidonia and was the former capital of Crete until 1972.
The city was conquered by the Venetians in 1252 and was later passed on to the Turks in 1669. The island of Crete received autonomy in 1898 after the Greco-Turkish war in 1897 and was eventually united with Greece after the Balkan Wars. In December 1913 Crete joined the Greek State, under the administration of Eleftherios Venizelos and King Konstantinos the 1st.
The lighthouse was built in 1570 by the Venetians and was later reconstructed by the Egyptians in 1830, to which it still preserves its current state.
The old town is built around the Venetian port and it consists of five connected districts, defined by Venetian walls.
The center of the old town is the Kastelli district, the location of the Byzantine citadel where the palaces of the Venetian commander were later built.
In the northeast side of the port one can see the Neoria, the Venetian ship yards from the 14th and 16th century which have been preserved.
To the east of the old town is Splantzia district. In this district, the famous church of Saint Nicholas was transformed into the city's central mosque named after Sultan Ibrahim. In 1919 it was converted into today's known Orthodox church of Saint Nicholas but retains the standing minaret in the churches façade. Today Splantzia square is a very cosmopolitan area, with a number of cafes and a restaurant, covered by massive plane tree.
To the southeast of the old city, one can find the Hebrew district where once upon a time two synagogues used to operate. In this district one can also visit the Archeological Museum of Chania, the Turkish Hamam and the church of Agios Fragkiskos.
The cosmopolitan city of Chania has been voted the most beautiful on Crete - it offers something for all visitors, with its Venetian harbor, museums, excellent indoor market and the Old Quarter of narrow streets packed with interesting shops.
Chania has an international airport with national scheduled flights all year round and abundant charter flights serving most of Europe during the tourist season - from approximately April until end of October.
Ferries sail to and from Athens (Piraeus) daily. The port of Souda is just a few kilometers away from the city center.
Food is offered in great variety! There are many restaurants and cafes open all year round during all hours of the day - or night.
Crete is considered a safe place to be.... crime is simply not a serious problem on Crete. Children are free to roam around town freely and night life is so vibrant, it is as safe as day time.
It is possible to walk from one end of town to the other end easily, passing by ancient ruins, the old wall, shops, squares and even a beach.
It is a vibrant place, rich in Byzantine, Venetian and Turkish history. Enjoy a relaxing meal or drink in one of the harbour front tavernas, with the lighthouse or the White Mountains as a spectacular backdrop.