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Chania harbour depicted with the Ottoman Minaret

The Prefecture of Chania is the Westernmost of the 4 Prefectures of the island of Crete, and the City of Chania is this Prefectureís capital.  The City is a mixture of Venetian, Turkish, traditional Greek & modern architecture, making it a beautiful and picturesque place with a rich history visible on every corner.

The Old Town of Chania is built around the spectacular Venetian Harbour with its famous Lighthouse entrance.  It is a maze of narrow cobbled streets, filled with the history of over 800 years.

Chania's Lighthouse            The cobbled Streets

The Venetians purchased the island of Crete around 1204, and the City of Chania as we know it today was built during this period.  In 1645 the Turks overwhelmed the whole of the island and Chania became the Turkish Islandís capital.

During this period of rule, known as the Ottoman Rule, the city grew and the Splantzia region of the Old Town was built.  Churches were converted to Mosques, and even today there are two Minarets still present in the old town (although the practiced religion these days is now Greek Orthodox).  The Turkish rule was ended in 1898 when they were expelled from the island through the actions of Great Britain, France & Russia, making Prince George the High Commissioner of the island.

Crete became a part of Greece on 13th December 1913, when the Greek flag was raised in Chania at Firka Fort.  The only further interruption to the islandís peace since this time was during WW2, when the Germans turned Chania into a Battlefield (The Battle of Crete Ė 1941).  The residents fought bravely against 3,500 German parachutists that landed at Meleme, just a few Kilometres outside the City, and during the same year Chania was bombarded from the air, destroying the largest part of the Venetian Citadel along with the eastern side of Splantzia. 

Unfortunately, the residents fought in vain and the Germans occupied the whole of the island until liberation came in 1945.

Venetian architecture in Chania

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