Holidays in Crete will not be complete unless you visit the beautiful traditional and picturesque town of Chania!
Holidays in Chania will truly be something you will cherish! The port the town the little streets will amaze you!
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An article from Visitgreece.gr
Prefecture of Chania
The Prefecture of Chania (also spelled Haniá) is the western most division of the island of Crete. The Prefecture of Rethymno forms its eastern border, whilst sea lap its remaining areas. The inhabited islands of Gavdos and Gavdopoula, which are located at a distance of 20 miles south from Chania, in Liviko Sea, also come under Chania.
The major cities of the prefecture are Chania, the capital of the prefecture, and Kastelli in Kisamos. Among the most important villages are Paleochora and Kantanos in Selino, the Chora of Sfakion in Sfakia.
The Prefecture of Chania provides tourist services and activities of all kinds, satisfying all the choices. The city of Chania maintains unaltered all of its characteristics, from the time of the Venetian Rule up until today.
The region of Chania is dominated by the impressive White Mountains (in Greek: Lefká Óri) and its famous National Park, which occupy the largest part of the region.
The White Mountains’ National Park, expanding around Samaria Gorge, is the biggest and most imposing gorge in Greece. You need about seven hours to cross it but the rich landscape and rare flora and fauna will definitely reward you. There are also many other smaller gorges for you to hike (Aradaina, Agia Irini, Imbros and Polyrhenia) as well as beautiful walking trails (from Hrysoskalitissa to Elafonissi, from Palaiohóra to Souyiá and from Ayia Rouméli to Hóra Sfakion), which make Chania a beloved destination among nature enthusiasts from all over the world. On the edge of a gloriously scenic turquoise lagoon lies the islet of Elafonissi with its ancient-old Cedar Forest.
Need more action? Go mountaineering on White Mountains (there are 4 shelters), climbing on the amazingly vertical slope of Mt. Gigilos, or canoying down the Kládos, Sapounás and Thérissos gorges.
Turquoise waters lap against the white sandy beaches, that lie to the west of the city: Hrissi Akti, Ayia Marina, Áyioi Apóstoloi, Máleme, Kalathás, Stavrós, Plataniás, Kolympári, Falássarna, Ayia Rouméli, Souyiá, Ammoúdi, Fínikas, Vótsala, Loutró, Áyios Pávlos, Pahiá Ámmos, Fragokástello and Gávdos are only some of the beaches where you can bask in the sun. On the islet of Elafonissi, a beach with crystal clear waters and white sand dunes will take your breath away! The whole area forms part of the NATURA network.
A plethora of religious and cultural festivals take place all year long, inviting both locals and visitors to experience the Cretan way of celebrating. Local products have their own prominent position in Chania’s cultural life: participate in the Chestnut Festival in Élos, the Rosewater Festival in Foúrni, or the Wine Festival in Voúves. In May takes place a glorious commemoration of the Battle of Crete in all the municipalities of the region. The Agricultural August is an exhibition of Cretan agricultural products and folklore artefacts. Also, several festivals, conferences or sport events (Venizeleia athletics competition) are organised between May and September, most of which are hosted at a beautiful outdoor theatre located in the east bulwark of the Old Town (“Anatolikí Táfros").
No visit to Chania is complete unless you have sampled traditional local specialties: eggs with stáka, Cretan kalitsoúnia (sweet mini cheese pies), lamb served with spiny chicory, dácos (the traditional hard Cretan bread accompanied with tomato, mizithra cheese and plenty of virgin Cretan oil), snails boubouristí(popping fried snails), haniótiko bouréki (patty from Chania, a vegetable specialty), kserotígana (honey dipped spiral pastries) wedding cookies, dry bread wreaths, yraviéra cheese (full fat sheep’s cheese with appellation of controlled origin), sweet smelling anthótyros from Sfakiá (fresh, soft, white cheese made of either sheep’s or goat’s milk), fresh stáka butter (the cream of the butter) for the Cretan wedding rice (rice cooked in meat broth), roasted goat or sea food delights – special ingredients blended in delicious sea-urchin salads, or divine fish soups! Accompany your dinner with a glass of deep-red Cretan wine, the divine marouvás, or drink after your meal an ice-cold rakí, a traditional Cretan spirit distilled from pomace, with a delicate aroma of ripe grapes.
Chania (also spelled: Haniá)is the capital city, a place where different civilizations have flourished throughout the centuries. Wandering around the Old Town’s maze-like alleys with the beautiful Venetian mansions, the fountains and the elaborate churches will help you discover well-preserved historical monuments.
The city of Chania is built on the area of Minoan Kidonia, at the end of the homonym gulf between Akrotiri and Onicha peninsulas. It was the former capital city of Crete (from 1847 until 1972). Nowadays, it is the second largest city of Crete after Heraklion and capital of the homonym prefecture.
Chania includes the old and new city. It is one of the most beautiful and picturesque cities in Greece and for food lovers, it's a paradise!
Get familiar with the city of Chania by wandering around in its streets, visiting its museums and admiring the different architectural styles presenting the historical route of the city.
After Arabs and Byzantines it was conquered by Venetians in 1252 and was given to Turks in 1669, later it was annexed to the rest of the Greek State on December 1913 under the administration of Eleftherios Venizelos and King Konstantinos the 1st. The old town is an integral settlement with visible boundaries set by the Venetian walls surrounding it.
Chania has daily boat connection with Piraeus port from Souda port (7 km). Chania is also connected with Athens by airplane which you can take from Akrotiri airport 15 km E of the city.
The old town is built around the Venetian port and is also a relatively integral area where Venetian buildings and later Turkish elements compose a unique architectural style. Due to the historic center of Chania with its Venetian walls defining the borders between the old and new city and its ramparts, the city has been pronounced as preserved. It consists of five connected districts surrounding the Venetian port.
Its design was made by Venetian engineer Michelle Sammichelli. The Lighthouse is located at the end of the rock protecting the port from the north. It was built in 1570 by the Venetians and reconstructed in 1830 by the Egyptians and from there on preserves its current state.
On the east of Palea Poli is Splantzia (or Plaza) district built on the former Turkish district. Here you will see among others Aghii Anargiri church, the only Orthodox church which had the permission to operate during the period of the Venetian and Turkish occupations. You will also see the Sintrivani square.
Neoria (or Chiones) district on the northeast side is located in the area of the former port of the city and of the Venetian ship yards of 14th and 16th centuries from which it also took its name.
Kastelli district is in the center of Palea Poli (Old Town) west of Neoria. It is the exalted location of the Byzantine citadel where “palatso” (palace) of the Venetian commander and the lodgings of Pashas of Chania were later built. Venetians used to call the area Castello Vecchio.
On the southeast of the old city lies the Hebrew district or else Ovraika. It reminds us the times when the developing Hebrew community of Chania was obliged by the Venetians to move to a delimitated area called judeca where two synagogues were operating.
On the boarders of Ovraika, in Chalides Street, you will see the Folklore Museum of Chania and Aghios Fragkiskos church (14th century) which houses the Archeological Museum of Chania. On the north side is the Turkish bath (chamam). In the south side of Ovraika and on Skridlof Street lies the so called Stivanadika (from stivani, the Cretan boots). Among the shops selling leather items and souvenirs survive some traditional shoe ateliers.
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