Chania - a kaleidoscope of culture, history and modernity

Between the Greatness of Nature and the Passing Glory of Men 

 Chania is Crete’s second-largest city and the administrative center of Chania Prefecture, about 70 km west of Rethymno and 145 km west of Heraklion.  It is the most popular destination on western Crete’s coastline, having two important gateways for the tourists visiting this part of the island: the international airport in Akrotiri, which has frequent flights from all over Greece and abroad, and the Souda Port, which is the most significant natural harbor in the Mediterranean. Chania is connected with the rest of Crete through the intercity bus service, and it is also a terminal for most of the itineraries on the island.

 The city is nestled in a gorgeous romantic landscape where the majestic White Mountains (Lefka Ori) meet the blue velvet of the Cretan Sea, creating some of Europe's most beautiful rocky shores and sandy beaches. Apart from the natural beauty and ecological significance that places this area on any traveler’s wish list, the city of Chania is a popular tourist destination in its own right.

 Built over the ruins of the Minoan Kydonia – one of the most powerful antique settlements of the island as Homer mentioned in his writings, Chania has a long and troubled history, constantly being attacked by pirates and invaders or witnessing the flowering, expansion, or decline of several empires, throughout the centuries. After the independence war against the Turks, Chania became the administrative capital of the autonomous Cretan State. During the Second World War, the city was occupied by the Germans and used as a center of military operations.

A Synergy of Old and New: The City Inside the City  

  The city proudly preserves the signs of all historical periods in the archeological sites, museums, and monuments, which are also impregnated in the local architecture, arts, and traditions. Its personality depicts a unique cultural mosaic that helps the visitor to feel the spirit of bygone times: Ancient Greek ruins, spanning from the Minoan to the Classical era, Roman and Byzantine monuments, Venetian fortress, monasteries and mansions, mosques and houses from the times of Turkish, Egyptian and Arab rule.

 It is well known that the most prosperous period, during which Chania was rebuilt, fortified, and developed, was the Venetian era, from which most architectural monuments have survived. The old Venetian harbor is hard to miss, being an essential attraction to Chania vacationers, while its lighthouse is now considered the city's trademark. Around the harbor, the historic buildings and alleys are occupied by restless buzzing restaurants, pubs, and cafes. The waterside promenade invites you for a walk to the Venetian Fort Firka and the ramparts from the 16th century. More than other cities, Chania has a distinctive and robust imprint of Islamic culture, with the Ottoman Baths, and the Mosque of Kioutsouk Hanan being one of the most notable cultural touristic highlights.

 Just outside the defense structures that embrace the old town, the modern city center is pulsing like a vivid organism at the pace of its heart. Commercial areas, food areas, cultural and social venues, street life, and dance & music clubs are ready to entertain their guests. In the craft shops and souvenir boutiques, Cretan folk tradition is infused with local art, reflecting the never-ending source of inspiration, the sense of beauty, and the creativity of local people.

 Concerned about responsible touristic development, the local community manages to preserve the historical and architectural character of the old city of Chania, thus positioning it as a top travel destination and iconic city of Crete island.

Welcome to Chania!


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