The Old Town and The Venetian Harbour of Chania.
Since I was a little girl, I was spending most of my summer holidays in Chania. I remember riding my bike, playing hide and seek with the kids from my neighbourhood, the endless strolling to the old and the new city and swimming to the beautiful beaches.
Times have changed, since my childhood period, but one thing has remained every time I visit Chania: I am always in awe.
I believe it is a magical city and one of the most beautiful cities in Greece. (To me – the most beautiful-).
Due to the rich culture and its long history, the old town keeps evident the unique architectural style that is a blend of Byzantine, Venetian, and Classical Greek architectural elements.
My first photographic attempts were in the old town of Chania that consists of five connected quarters, which surround the old port (it is called the Venetian Harbour as well).
The Venetian Harbour is stunning having a multicultural immense and the attractions are so many.
The unique picturesque scenery of the old port, the romantic atmosphere that feels like being in Venice and the beautiful narrow shopping alleys will make you fall in love with the old town immediately.
Hotels, bed and breakfast apartments, international restaurants, taverns, bars, local shops etc. are housed in buildings that are dating different periods (but mostly from the Venetian times). Nightlife in the old town is wonderful as well, as there are many beautiful bars and pubs that are staying open throughout the night.
The landmark of Chania is the lighthouse that is situated at the end of the harbour wall, protecting the city from the north. The Venetians built the lighthouse in the 1570 and the Egyptians reconstructed it in 1830. It is the first thing everyone sees while reaching the old harbour.
The wonderful Firka Fortress from the 16th century for the protection of the harbour, (Revellino del Porto), is situated at the entrance of the old port, which is on the western side of the port of Chania. In 1913 the Greek flag was raised on top of the fortress of Firka to celebrate the union of Crete with Greece. It also houses the Maritime Museum.
Strolling around the old town, you will see many important buildings such as the Janissaries Mosque, the Metropolis at Chalidon street and you will explore plenty of cultural activities, a wide range of facilities and exhibitions that take place every year in the heart of the old port.
The old port ends at “Pyli tis Ammou” (Gate of the Sand, or Koum Kapi in Turkish). The Grand Arsenal – the last unit of the 17 “Neoria” or “Arsenali” (dockyards) is located there, to the west of the old port. Nowadays it houses the Center of Mediterranean Architecture and many cultural events take place there.
Cretan cuisine is also very famous and I love it! You must try:
Pychtogalo (tasty white cheese that reminiscents yogurt in texture).
Apaki, (smoked pork).
Staka (butter with a unique aroma and flavor).
Dakos (Greek rusk topped with chopped tomatoes, crumbled xynomyzithra cheese and flavored with herbs).
Kalitsounia (small pies stuffed with xynomyzithra cheese and herbs dough).
Chochlioi (Snails) – I prefer them not fried, but with tomato sauce.
Gamopilafo (delicious Creatan risotto usually served at weddings).
Stamnagathi (wild green that is usually served with lemon and olive oil or with lamb).
Sfakiani pita (a sweet, very thin pie stuffed with pichtogalo and served with thyme honey.
Crete is also famous for its olive oil and thyme honey.
Just make sure you make a reservation before you go!
My favourite places to drink are: Avalon (if you love rock music as much as I do!), Krtitamon wine bar (they also offer delicious gourmet food), Brew House (it is also a restaurant), Pallas, Barbarossa, K Prasein Aloga (they also serve meze and gourmet touches) and at Barraki.
My most important tip, is that whatever your destination is, you must also experience the places where the locals spend their free time. In the old town of Chania, there are a lot of taverns, bars and coffee places in the area around Daliani and Potie streets that locals love to hang out.
It is impossible to cover everything in one blog post, as there are many things to see in the new town as well. Chania Prefecture also offers some of the most famous and beautiful beaches, famous gorges such as Samaria Gorge, amazingly traditional villages such as Sfakia etc.
Please mind that all the above, are only my suggestions and new ones are always welcome!
So, until next time!
Hugs and kisses ♥