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Chania
Χανιά
The Venetian harbour of Chania
The Venetian harbour of Chania
Location
Chania is located in Greece
Chania
Coordinates 35°31′N 24°1′E / 35.517°N 24.017°E / 35.517; 24.017Coordinates: 35°31′N 24°1′E / 35.517°N 24.017°E / 35.517; 24.017
Government
Country: Greece
Periphery: Crete
Prefecture: Chania
Population statistics (as of 2001[1])
City
 - Population: 55,838
 - Area: 12.564 km2 (5 sq mi)
 - Density: 4,444 /km2 (11,511 /sq mi)
Other
Time zone: EET/EEST (UTC+2/3)
Elevation (min-max): 0 - 5 m (0 - 16 ft)
Postal: 731 00
Telephone: 28210
Auto: ΧΝ
Website
www.chania.gr

Chaniá (Greek: Χανιά, [xaˈɲa], also transliterated Chania, Hania, and Xania, older form Chanea and Venetian Canea, Ottoman Turkish خانيه Hanya) is the second largest city of Crete and the capital of the Chania Prefecture. It lies along the north coast of the island, about 70 km west of Rethymno and 145 km west of Heraklion.

The official population of the municipal area is 55,838 but around 70,000 people live in the greater area of Chania. With 4,248.1 inhabitants/km², the municipality is the most densely populated outside the Athens and Thessaloniki metropolitan areas.

Contents

Geography

The city of Chania lies at the east end of the Gulf of Chania, a wide embayment between the Akrotiri peninsula in the east and the Spatha peninsula (also called Rodopos) in the west. Kastelli Hill is a prominent landform within the city, which hill was a center of the ancient city of Kydonia. It covers a significant part of the small Plain of Chania and borders with the hilly suburbs of Profitis Ilias, Agios Mattheos and Kounoupidiana towards the east, with the villages of Vamvakopoulo, Nerokourou, Mournies and Perivolia towards the south and with the coastal areas of Chryssi Akti and Agioi Apostoloi towards the west.

Chania, Greece
Climate chart (explanation)
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average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: ΕΜΥ
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Climate

The city enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate, with sunny dry summers and mild rainy winters. During the period between April and October, clear-sky weather is almost an everyday feature. The atmosphere is always warm, but fierce heat waves (temperatures above 38°C) are not very common, since the prevailing Etesian winds ("Meltemia") blow from northern directions and pleasantly moderate the conditions. Intervals of sunny days are frequent during the windy and rainy winter as well. Snow and frost are rare near the coast, with very few exceptions, like the snowstorm on 13 February 2004, when 10–30 cm of snow accumulated in the urban area, causing general chaos. However, such cold days can be followed by much warmer and sunny weather. Even minor early heat waves can occur in March or April, during a Saharan dust event, whose main feature is the strong and hot katabatic wind from the south, which is a type of Sirokos (σιρόκος) and is called "Livas" (i.e. the wind from Libya) by the Greeks. Such events happen only a couple of times a year, and their duration is never more than 1 or 2 days.

Chart to the left is based on data recorded during 1958-1997. Absolute maximum temperature ever recorded was 42,5°C, while absolute minimum ever recorded was 0°C. However, the record minimum was broken on 13 February 2004 when the temperature reached -1°C at midday.

History

Early history

Chania is the site of the Minoan settlement the Greeks called Cydonia, Greek for quince. Some notable archaeological evidence for the existence of this Minoan city below some parts of today's Chania was found by excavations[2] in the district of Kasteli in the Old Town. This area appears to have been inhabited since the Neolithic era. The city reemerged after the end of the Minoan period as an important city-state in Classical Greece, one whose domain extended from Hania Bay to the feet of the White Mountains. The first major wave of settlers from mainland Greece was by the Dorian Greeks who came around 1100 BC. Cydonia was constantly at war with other Cretan city-states such as Aptera, Phalasarna and Polyrrinia and was important enough for the Cydonians to be mentioned in Homer's Odyssey (iii.330). In 69 BC the Roman consul Caecilius Metellus defeated the Cretans and conquered Cydonia to which he granted the privileges of an independent city-state. Cydonia reserved the right to mint its own coins until the third century AD.

Byzantine Era

The early Christian period under Byzantine rule (First Byzantine Period, 395–824 AD) and the rule of the Arabs, who called the settlement Al Hanim ("the Inn"), are not well documented. Under the Arabs the Christian population was persecuted and moved to the mountains. The Byzantine Empire retook the city in 961 AD (Second Byzantine Period, until 1204 AD). In this period the Arabic name of the city was changed into Greek Chania. Byzantines began to strongly fortify the city in order to prevent another Arab invasion, using materials from the ancient buildings of the area. By this time Chania was the seat of a bishop.

The Venetian era

The old harbour during the Venetian era

After the Fourth Crusade (1204) and the fall of Byzantium in the Hellenic area, Crete was given to Bonifacio, Marquess of Montferrat. He in turn chose to sell it to the Venetians for 100 silver marks. In 1252 the Venetians managed to subdue the Cretans but in 1263, their rivals of Genoa, with local support, seized the city under the leadership of Enrico Pescatore, count of Malta, and held it until 1285, when the Venetians returned. Chania was chosen as the seat of the Rector (Administrator General) of the region and flourished as a significant commercial centre of a fertile agricultural region.

The Venetian rule was initially strict and oppressive but slowly the relations between the two parts improved. Contact with Venice led to close intertwining of Cretan and Venetian cultures, without, however, the Cretans losing their Greek Orthodox nature. The city's name became La Canea and fortifications were strengthened, giving Chania the form that it still has today. On the other hand, after the fall of Constantinople in 1453, many priests, monks and artists took refuge in Crete and reinforced the Byzantine religion and culture on the island. The city of Chania during the period that followed was a blend of Byzantine, Venetian and Classical Greek cultural elements. Many of the important buildings of the town were built during this era and the intellectual activities (written word, music, education) were also promoted.

Ottoman Era

The old harbour during the Ottoman era

However the walls did not prevent the Turkish army overrunning the city in 1645 after just two months' siege. The Turks landed near the Monastery of Gonia in Kissamos, which they plundered and burnt.[citation needed] They seized Chania itself on 2 August 1645. Huge numbers died in the siege, particularly Turks. The Turkish commander was executed on returning home for losing up to 40,000 men. Later, most churches were turned into mosques and the riches of the city were taken. The Turks resided mainly in the eastern quarters, Kastelli and Splantzia, where they converted the Dominican church of St Nicholas into the central Sovereign's Mosque ("Houghiar Tzamissi" Turkish: Hünkar Camisi). They also built new mosques such as "Kioutsouk Hassan Tzamissi" (Turkish: Küçük Hasan Camisi) on the harbour. Public baths (hamam), and fountains were a feature of the Turkish city. The pasha of Crete resided in Chania.

In 1821, as Greece rose against the Ottoman Empire, there were conflicts between Greeks and Turks in Chania, leading to casualties from both sides, most of whom were Muslims. The Bishop of Kissamos, Melhisedek Despotakis was hanged from a tree in Splantzia for participation in the revolutionary events. In 1878, the Pact of Halepa was signed. This was when a big part of the local Muslim population was sluthered or moved to Turkey. There was no Turkish population left before Population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1922.

Modern Greek Era

Eleftherios Venizelos (1864–1936), one of the greatest political figures of modern Greece.

In 1898, during the final moves towards independence and enosis— union with Greece— the Great Powers made Chania the capital of the semi-autonomous Cretan State ("Kritiki Politeia"), with Prince George of Greece, the High Commissioner of Crete living here. During these years Crete issued its own stamps and money. This was a very important transitional period when, no longer an isolated vilayet of the Ottoman Empire, the city became more cosmopolitan and flourishing, regaining its role as the crossroad of civilizations, influenced by Europe as well as by the East. Many important buildings were built during this era, intellectual and artistic societies were created and a new class of local aristocracy brought a different atmosphere to the everyday life of the town. The district of Halepa has many fine neoclassical embassies and consulates dating from this period.

However the main goal was enosis with Greece which came after Venizelos's constant opposition to Prince George's rule over Crete. The series of conflicts includes the Revolution of Therissos in 1905, which overthrew Prince George and brought Alexandros Zaimis to rule Crete. Finally in 1908 Venizelos managed to establish a revolutionary government, recognized by the Great Powers. His later election as the prime minister of Greece (1910) was the last step before Crete was united with Greece on 1 December 1913. The Greek flag was raised for the first time at Fort Firca in the Old Harbour in the presence of Eleftherios Venizelos and King Constantine.

Eleftherios Venizelos, who hailed from Mournies near Chania, was the leader of the 1896-97 uprising against Ottoman rule and went on to be Prime Minister of Greece and a great statesman. His tomb is on a hill overlooking Chania (Profitis Ilias, 35°31′29.5″N 24°03′22.2″E / 35.524861°N 24.056167°E / 35.524861; 24.056167 (Tomb of E. & S. Venizelos)).

Chania in World War II

Another important period for the city of Chania was the invasion and occupation by German forces during World War II. The British force that faced the German paratroopers during the Battle Of Crete in 1941, had artillery elements over the hill of Dexameni in the south of the city. These elements bombed the German forces in the Maleme airfield undetected, until they ran out of ammunition.George II of Greece also, stayed in a villa near the village of Perivolia, outside Chania before he escaped to Egypt. Part of the city was bombed, progress in several aspects of life was halted and a significant proportion of the area's population was either executed or imprisoned due to participation in the resistance against the German rule. The Jewish community of Chania was also eliminated during the German occupation. Most of them were transported off the island by the Nazi occupiers in 1944. Tragically a British torpedo sank the ship "Tanais" carrying most of the Jewish prisoners, killing the island's pre-war community.

Modern era

Fortunately, Chania and Crete in general escaped the disastrous consequences of the Greek Civil War of the postwar years. The city of Chania was slowly regaining its normal pace of development during the 1950s, trying to overcome the difficulties that the war had left as an aftermath. During the 1970s Crete became a major tourist destination for Greek and international tourists, something that gave a significant boost to the city's economy and affected the everyday life and the overall culture of the locals. The capital of Crete was moved to Heraklion in 1971.

Historical population

Year Municipal Population Change
1981 47,471 -
1991 50,007 +2,536/5.34%
2001 53,373 +3,366/6.73%

Cityscape

Chania Old Harbour panorama

The city of Chania can be divided in two parts: the old town and the modern city which is the larger one. The old town is situated next to the old harbour and is the matrix around which the whole urban area was developed. It used to be surrounded by the old Venetian fortifications that started to be built in 1538; of them the eastern and western parts have survived. From the south, the old town is continuous with the new, and from the north the physical border is the sea. The centre of the modern city is the area extending next to the old town and especially towards the south.

The old town

Traditional street in the old town.
Kastelli.

Despite being heavily bombed during World War II Chania's Old Town is considered the most beautiful urban district on Crete, especially the crumbling Venetian harbour. The borders of the Old Town are the mostly destroyed old Venetian wall (and bulwarks) and this has been the cradle of all the civilizations which were developed in the area. The central part of the old town is named Kasteli and has been inhabited since Neolithic times. It is located on a small hill right next to the seafront and has always been the ideal place for a settlement due to its secure position, its location next to the harbour and its proximity to the fertile valley in the south. Nowadays it is a bit more quiet than the neighbouring areas of the west part of the district. The Splantzia quarter (next to the east part of Kasteli) is also largely untouched and very atmospheric. A plan for its future development is now under consideration.

The main square of the Old Town (next to the west end of Kasteli) is the Eleftherios Venizelos Square ("Syntrivani"). It is the heart of the touristic activities in the area. Next to this (on the west side) lies the Topanas district, which used to be the Christian part of the city during the Turkish occupation. Its name comes from the Venetian ammunition warehouse (Top-Hane in Turkish), which was located there. The Jewish quarter ("Evraiki" or "Ovraiki") was located at the north-west of the Old Town, behind the harbour and within the borders of Topanas. The whole Topanas area is generally very picturesque, with many narrow alleys and old charming buildings, some of which have been restored as hotels, restaurants, shops and bars. This makes it a lively and colourful place especially during the warm period (April-October). In the winter, it still remains a center of activities (especially for nightlife) but in a more quiet and atmospheric way.

Finally, a very distinctive area of the Old Town is the harbour itself and generally the seafront ("akti"). Akti Tompazi, Akti Kountouriotou and Akti Enoseos (marina) all feature several historical buildings and a thriving nightlife. The main street that combines the modern town with the old town is Halidon Str.

The modern city

The Court House Square ("Dikastiria")
The Orthodox Cathedral

The modern part of Chania is where most locals live and work. It is less traditional than the old town, but there are still areas of charming beauty or of some historical interest. The oldest district (early 18th century) of the modern city is Nea Hora (meaning "New Town") which is located beyond the west end of the old town. It is a developing area, but also a very picturesque one, with narrow old lanes leading to a small fishing harbour. During the same era the district of Halepa begun to grow to the east of the city and used to be home for the local aristocracy. Some of the historical buildings of the area (including old embassies of foreign countries) had been destroyed or abandoned during the later decades of the 20th century, and it was only recently when some interest was shown for the restoration of the remaining ones.

Other historical buildings in the area include Eleftherios Venizelos’s House (built 1876–1880), the old French school (now property of the Technical University of Crete, housing the Department of Architecture), the Church of Agia Magdalini (built 1901–1903) , The “Palace” (built 1882, house of Prince George during the period of the Cretan independence) and The Church of Evangelistria (built 1908–1923). Part of the marine area of Halepa is called Tabakaria, where a unique architectural complex of old leather processing houses is situated. The district of Koum Kapi (the Venetians had first named it "Sabbionara", which means "the Gate of the Sand", the same as "Koum Kapi") situated beyond the walls at the eastern part of the old town, was also one of the first places to be inhabited outside the fortification walls. Initially, it was home for the "Halikoutes", a group of bedouins from North Africa who had actually settled there since the last years of the Turkish occupation. Nowadays it is a developing area with many trendy cafes, bars and restaurants on its picturesque beach.

Apart from the previously mentioned older districts of the modern part of the town, several new residential areas have been developed during the 20th century, like Agios Ioannis, Koumbes, Lentariana etc. Some part -but not the biggest- of the city centre is dominated by colourless medium-height block buildings, typical of the urbanization period of Greece (1950–1970). However, there are still some beautiful neoclassical houses especially at the eastern part of Chania and some of the neighbourhoods surrounding the centre are quite picturesque. The plan of the central area is very good, there are some nice parks and several sports grounds, the most important being the Venizeleio Stadium of Chania and the Swimming Pool at Nea Hora. The 1913 indoor market ("Agora"), a large building based on the market of Marseille, is on the edge of the old town and is popular with tourists and locals alike. Some other important sites of the newer urban area are The Court House ("Dikastiria", built late 19th century), The Public Gardens ("Kipos", created 1870), The Garden Clock-Tower ("Roloi", built 1924–1927), The Episcopal Residence (Bishop's residence, "Despotiko", built early 19th century) and the House of Manousos Koundouros (built 1909), the Cultural Centre ("Pnevmatiko Kentro"). The central largest squares in Chania are the Market Square ("Agora"), the Court House Square ("Dikastiria") and the "1866 Square".

In the last two decades there has been a profound movement of Chania residents towards the suburbs, as well as towards areas around the city which used to be rural, mainly the Akrotiri Peninsula.

Culture

A snapshot from a cultural event in Chania

The cultural background of Chania is very rich, first of all due to the town's long history and its interaction with many diverse civilizations in the past. Furthermore the location of Crete (immediately connected to Athens, situated between Europe, Asia and Africa) as well as the cosmopolitan atmosphere that tourism creates, have generally kept the town up-to-date with modern advances in art and knowledge. Currently, there are several museums, art galleries, theatre and music groups, educational and research institutions within the city.

The most important museums in Chania are:

Part of the Mediterranean Centre for Architecture

Several theatre groups are active in Chania with the most important being the Municipal and Regional Theatre of Crete (DI.PE.THE.K) [3]. The repertoire includes old and contemporary plays from Greek and foreign writers. The Venizelian Conservatory of Music ("Odeion", established 1931) is also one of the most important cultural societies in Crete. A recent attempt from the municipality to create a chamber music group named "Sinfonietta" has been successful and its performances throughout the year have enriched the cultural event calendar of the city. There is also a significant community of people who focus on alternative/indie music as well as jazz and some interesting bands performing modern musical styles. A number of traditional [Cretan] musicians are also active in town.

The city is also quite cinephile. There are five cinemas (two of them open-air), concentrating both in commercial and independent movies and occasionally organizing small festivals.

During the summer period a variety of cultural events take place on a daily basis. Theatrical plays, concerts and several exhibitions from Greek and foreign artists are organized either by the municipality or by individuals. A venue which hosts many of these events is a theater located in the east bulwark of the Old Town ("Anatoliki Tafros"). Also, several festivals, conferences or sport events take place in Chania especially between May and September. The Venizeleia athletics competition is one of the most noteworthy events of the year.

Cultural life throughout the wintry period of the year (November-March) is not as rich as in the summer, but it is certainly maintained to a good standard. During the last years there has been a substantial effort by both the city councils and by the locals to create the background for the city to be in the centre of interest throughout the year. Towards this direction, the increasing number of students moving to Chania for their studies has proved to be helpful. There is also some effort to promote Crete as a tourist destination for all seasons - a role that the island could easily hold - which would also support both the local economy and culture.

A major role in the city's cultural life is played by the Municipal Cultural Corporation of Chania (DI.P.E.X.) [4] which organizes a significant part of the events taking place throughout the year.

There is a French, a German, an Italian and a Swedish consulate in Chania.

Sports

The National Stadium of Chania

Water sports are very popular in Chania and especially the local water polo team (Nautical Club of Chania, N.O.X. [5]) has managed to be a protagonist in the primary league of the Greek national championship for years. Several athletes of this team have also played extensively for the Greek national team which has achieved major international successes.

Football and basketball are also very popular in the town, however not as successful. The main football teams are "A.O.X" (Sports Club of Chania). and "Ionia". The main clubs for athletics are "Eleftherios Venizelos" and "Kydon". The "Antisfairisi" club is specialized in tennis and table tennis and has also a significant tradition in chess. Many of the above sports are being practiced in the National Stadium of Chania, constructed in 1935 with the financial support of Elena Venizelou, then wife of Eleftherios Venizelos. There is also an open swimming pool for water sports in Nea Chora and a new indoor one which is being built in the area of Akrotiri. A modern indoor stadium for basketball / volleyball etc has also been built (2002-2005) near Nea Chora (Kladisos area).

It also has to be mentioned that there is a very active climbing / mountain walking club (Greek Mountaineering Club of Chania, E.O.S. Chanion [6]) organizing weekly excursions of varying difficulty on the mountains of Crete and several other longer term missions in mainland Greece and abroad.

Education/Research

The library of the Technical University of Crete

Educational institutions located at the greater area of the city are:

  • The Technical University of Crete [7]. It is the largest educational institution in Chania with around 2600 undergraduate and 700 postgraduate students. It is focusing on Electronic and Computer Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Production Engineering and Management, Mineral Resources Engineering, Sciences and Architecture. Future plans include a Civil Engineering and a Fine Arts department.
  • The Chania branch of the Technological Educational Institute of Crete [8]
  • The Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania [9]

Other research and intellectual institutes and societies in Chania are:

  • The National Research Foundation "Eleftherios K. Venizelos" [10]
  • The Mediterranean Architecture Centre (KAM) [11]
  • The Institute of Olive Tree and Subtropical Plants of Chania [12]
  • The Literary Society “Chryssostomos” [13]
  • The Institute of Cretan Law
  • The Historical, Laographical and Archaeological Society of Crete

Primary and secondary schools are mainly public in Chania (as in all cities in Greece). However there has been a slow development of some private high schools recently. Among the "Eniaia Lykeia" (Unified Upper Secondary Schools) of the town there is an autonomus Ecclesiastical Lyceum in Agios Mattheos.

Economy

The central Market Square ("Agora")

Two main sources of wealth in Chania are agriculture and tourism. A big portion of the city's residents (not necessarily farmers) own from few to many decares of agricultural land where several plants are being cultivated, the most popular ones being olive trees and citrus. Other important products include wine, avocados, dairy etc. Apart from the traditional ways of cultivation, some of the producers have concentrated on practicing new methods in order to promote organic food. The organization of the Agricultural August [14] has been a recent attempt to promote local quality products including a series of activities organised by the Prefecture of Chania since 1999 and has proved very successful.

On the other hand, tourism has developed rapidly during the last decades, starting from the early 1970s. Nowadays the tertiary sector is becoming more and more important for the locals, since an increasing number of them are participating in the business. Agrotourism and ecotourism are forms of tourism which are significantly developing lately.

There is also some secondary industry with focus on the processing-packaging of the agricultural products (some of them export oriented) or manufacture products that support the agricultural production. On the other hand, the growth and development of academic/research institutions in Chania is a challenge for future economic activities by taking advantage of the specialised knowledge of scientists and technicians and by also reinforcing quality tourism (conferences etc.).

An important centre of the economic activities in the town is the Chania Chamber of Commerce and Industry (E.B.E.X.) [15].

Health Care

The main health center in the city is the General Hospital "Agios Georgios". Other institutions include the Crete Naval Hospital, the branch of the National Centre for Emergency Medical Care (E.K.A.B.) and the Clinic of Chronic Disease. The Chania branch of the Organisation Against Drugs (Ο.ΚΑ.ΝΑ.) opened in 2003.

There is also a number of private clinics and medical centers specializing in various areas within the town.

Transportation

The city is served by Ioannis Daskalogiannis Chania International Airport (IATA code: CHQ) on the Akrotiri Peninsula. The airport is named after Daskalogiannis, a Sfakiot hero who was skinned by the Turks in the 18th century.

There are several flights a day from Athens to Chania, with Aegean Airlines and Olympic Airlines. From April to early November, there are many direct charter flights to Chania from the UK, Holland, Germany, Scandinavia and other European countries.

Souda, some 7 km from Chania, is the city's port, with daily ferries to Piraeus and a NATO naval base.

Notable residents

  • Eleftherios Venizelos 1864-1936 (prime minister of Greece 1910-1920, 1924, 1928-1932, 1933; widely considered as the most important statesman of modern Greece)
  • Constantine Mitsotakis *1918 (politician, prime minister of Greece 1990-1993, now the honorary president of the New Democracy party)
  • Constantinos Manos 1869-1913 (politician and writer of the late 19th and early 20th century)
  • Nana Mouskouri *1934 (one of the world's highest-selling female recording artist of all time)
  • Alexis Minotis 1898-1967 (famous stage and screen actor active between 1930s-1980s)
  • Manos Katrakis 1909-1984 (famous theater and film actor)
  • Maro Douka 1947 (Greek novelist)
  • John Craxton 1922-2009 (painter and British hon. consul.)
  • Eftichios Bitsakis *1927 (philosopher – theoretical physicist)
  • Kostas Moundakis 1926-1991 (Traditional Cretan music composer, Cretan lyra virtuoso and teacher)
  • George Psychoundakis 1920-2006 (Cretan war hero and author)
  • Eleni Daniilidou *1982 (Greece's Number 1 Tennis Player)

Theodore Thymianos

International relations

Twin towns — sister cities

Chania is twinned with:

See also

References

External links


Chania
Χανιά
File:Chania
The Venetian harbour of Chania.
Location

Chania
Coordinates 35°31′N 24°1′E / 35.517°N 24.017°E / 35.517; 24.017Coordinates: 35°31′N 24°1′E / 35.517°N 24.017°E / 35.517; 24.017
Government
Country:Greece
Periphery: Crete
Prefecture: Chania
Population statistics (as of 2001[1])
City
 - Population: 57,838
 - Area: 12.564 km2 (5 sq mi)
 - Density: 4,603 /km2 (11,923 /sq mi)
Other
Time zone: EET/EEST (UTC+2/3)
Elevation (min-max): 0 - 5 m ­(0 - 16 ft)
Postal: 731 00
Telephone: 28210
Auto: ΧΝ
Website
www.chania.gr

Chaniá (Greek: Χανιά, /xaˈɲa/, also transliterated Chania, Hania, and Xania, older form Chanea and Venetian Canea, Ottoman Turkish خانيه Hanya) is the second largest city of Crete and the capital of the Chania Prefecture. It lies along the north coast of the island, about 70 km (43 mi) west of Rethymno and 145 km (90 mi) west of Heraklion.

The official population of the municipal area is 57,838 but around 130,000 people live in the greater area of Chania. With 4,248.1 inhabitants/km², the municipality is the most densely populated in Greece outside the Athens and Thessaloniki metropolitan areas.

Contents

Geography

The city of Chania lies at the east end of the Gulf of Chania, a wide embayment between the Akrotiri peninsula in the east and the Spatha peninsula (also called Rodopos) in the west. Kastelli Hill is a prominent landform within the city, which hill was a center of the ancient city of Kydonia. It covers a significant part of the small Plain of Chania and borders with the hilly suburbs of Profitis Ilias, Agios Mattheos and Kounoupidiana towards the east, with the villages of Vamvakopoulo, Nerokourou, Mournies and Perivolia towards the south and with the coastal areas of Chryssi Akti and Agioi Apostoloi towards the west.

Chania, Greece
Climate chart (explanation)
JFMAMJJASOND
 
 
123
 
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9
 
 
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18
11
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: ΕΜΥ

Climate

The city enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate, with sunny dry summers and mild rainy winters. During the period between April and October, clear-sky weather is almost an everyday feature. The atmosphere is always warm, but fierce heat waves (temperatures above 38 °C) are not very common, since the prevailing Etesian winds ("Meltemia") blow from northern directions and pleasantly moderate the conditions. Intervals of sunny days are frequent during the windy and rainy winter as well. Snow and frost are rare near the coast, with very few exceptions, like the snowstorm on 13 February 2004, when Template:Convert/ of snow accumulated in the urban area, causing general chaos. However, such cold days can be followed by much warmer and sunny weather. Even minor early heat waves can occur in March or April, during a Saharan dust event, whose main feature is the strong and hot katabatic wind from the south, which is a type of Sirokos (σιρόκος) and is called "Livas" (i.e. the wind from Libya) by the Greeks. Such events happen only a couple of times a year, and their duration is never more than one or two days.

Chart to the left is based on data recorded during 1958-1997. Absolute maximum temperature ever recorded was 42.5 °C, while absolute minimum ever recorded was 0 °C. However, the record minimum was broken on 13 February 2004 when the temperature reached -1 °C at midday.

History

Early history

Chania is the site of the Minoan settlement the Greeks called Cydonia, Greek for quince. Some notable archaeological evidence for the existence of this Minoan city below some parts of today's Chania was found by excavations[2] in the district of Kasteli in the Old Town. This area appears to have been inhabited since the Neolithic era. The city reemerged after the end of the Minoan period as an important city-state in Classical Greece, one whose domain extended from Hania Bay to the feet of the White Mountains. The first major wave of settlers from mainland Greece was by the Dorian Greeks who came around 1100 BC. Cydonia was constantly at war with other Cretan city-states such as Aptera, Phalasarna and Polyrrinia and was important enough for the Cydonians to be mentioned in Homer's Odyssey (iii.330). In 69 BC, the Roman consul Caecilius Metellus defeated the Cretans and conquered Cydonia to which he granted the privileges of an independent city-state. Cydonia reserved the right to mint its own coins until the third century AD.

Byzantine Era

The early Christian period under Byzantine rule (First Byzantine Period, 395–824 AD) and the rule of the Arabs, who called the settlement Al Hanim ("the Inn"), are not well documented. Under the Arabs, the Christian population was persecuted and moved to the mountains. The Byzantine Empire retook the city in 961 AD (Second Byzantine Period, until 1204 AD). In this period the Arabic name of the city was changed into Greek Chania. Byzantines began to strongly fortify the city in order to prevent another Arab invasion, using materials from the ancient buildings of the area. By this time Chania was the seat of a bishop.

The Venetian era

After the Fourth Crusade (1204) and the fall of Byzantium in the Hellenic area, Crete was given to Bonifacio, Marquess of Montferrat. He in turn chose to sell it to the Venetians for 100 silver marks. In 1252 the Venetians managed to subdue the Cretans but in 1263, their rivals of Genoa, with local support, seized the city under the leadership of Enrico Pescatore, count of Malta, and held it until 1285, when the Venetians returned. Chania was chosen as the seat of the Rector (Administrator General) of the region and flourished as a significant commercial centre of a fertile agricultural region.

The Venetian rule was initially strict and oppressive but slowly the relations between the two parts improved. Contact with Venice led to close intertwining of Cretan and Venetian cultures, without, however, the Cretans losing their Greek Orthodox nature. The city's name became La Canea and fortifications were strengthened, giving Chania the form that it still has today. On the other hand, after the fall of Constantinople in 1453, many priests, monks and artists took refuge in Crete and reinforced the Byzantine religion and culture on the island. The city of Chania during the period that followed was a blend of Byzantine, Venetian and Classical Greek cultural elements. Many of the important buildings of the town were built during this era and the intellectual activities (written word, music, education) were also promoted.

Ottoman Era

However, the walls did not prevent the Turkish army from overrunning the city in 1645 after just two months' siege. The Turks landed near the Monastery of Gonia in Kissamos, which they plundered and burnt.[citation needed] They seized Chania itself on 2 August 1645. Huge numbers died in the siege, particularly Turks. The Turkish commander was executed on returning home for losing up to 40,000 men. Later, most churches were turned into mosques and the riches of the city were taken. The Turks resided mainly in the eastern quarters, Kastelli and Splantzia, where they converted the Dominican church of St Nicholas into the central Sovereign's Mosque ("Houghiar Tzamissi" Turkish: Hünkar Camisi). They also built new mosques such as "Kioutsouk Hassan Tzamissi" (Turkish: Küçük Hasan Camisi) on the harbour. Public baths (hamam), and fountains were a feature of the Turkish city. The pasha of Crete resided in Chania.

In 1821, as Greece rose against the Ottoman Empire, there were conflicts between Greeks and Turks in Chania, leading to casualties from both sides, most of whom were Muslims. The Bishop of Kissamos, Melhisedek Despotakis was hanged from a tree in Splantzia for participation in the revolutionary events. In 1878, the Pact of Halepa was signed. This was when a big part of the local Muslim population was killed or moved to Turkey. There was no Turkish population left before Population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1922.

Modern Greek Era

(1864–1936),the greatest Greek political figure of 20th century,was born in Chania.]]

In 1898, during the final moves towards independence and enosis — union with Greece — the Great Powers made Chania the capital of the semi-autonomous Cretan State ("Kritiki Politeia"), with Prince George of Greece, the High Commissioner of Crete living here. During these years Crete issued its own stamps and money. This was a very important transitional period when, no longer an isolated vilayet of the Ottoman Empire, the city became more cosmopolitan and flourishing, regaining its role as the crossroad of civilizations, influenced by Europe as well as by the East. Many important buildings were built during this era, intellectual and artistic societies were created and a new class of local aristocracy brought a different atmosphere to the everyday life of the town. The district of Halepa has many fine neoclassical embassies and consulates dating from this period.

However the main goal was enosis with Greece which came after Venizelos's constant opposition to Prince George's rule over Crete. The series of conflicts includes the Revolution of Therissos in 1905, which overthrew Prince George and brought Alexandros Zaimis to rule Crete. Finally in 1908 Venizelos managed to establish a revolutionary government, recognized by the Great Powers. His later election as the prime minister of Greece (1910) was the last step before Crete was united with Greece on 1 December 1913. The Greek flag was raised for the first time at Fort Firca in the Old Harbour in the presence of Eleftherios Venizelos and King Constantine.

Eleftherios Venizelos, who hailed from Mournies near Chania, was the leader of the 1896-97 uprising against Ottoman rule and went on to be Prime Minister of Greece and a great statesman. His tomb is on a hill overlooking Chania (Profitis Ilias, 35°31′29.5″N 24°03′22.2″E / 35.524861°N 24.056167°E / 35.524861; 24.056167 (Tomb of E. & S. Venizelos)).

Chania in World War II

Another important period for the city of Chania was the invasion and occupation by German forces during World War II. The British force that faced the German paratroopers during the Battle Of Crete in 1941, had artillery elements over the hill of Dexameni in the south of the city. These elements bombed the German forces in the Maleme airfield undetected, until they ran out of ammunition.George II of Greece stayed in a villa near the village of Perivolia outside Chania before escaping to Egypt. Part of the city was bombed and a significant proportion of the area's population was either executed or imprisoned due to participation in the resistance against the German rule. The Jewish community of Chania was also eliminated during the German occupation. Most of them were transported off the island by the Nazi occupiers in 1944. Tragically a British torpedo sank the ship "Tanais" carrying most of the Jewish prisoners.

Modern era

Fortunately, Chania and Crete in general escaped the disastrous consequences of the Greek Civil War of the postwar years. The city of Chania was slowly regaining its normal pace of development during the 1950s, trying to overcome the difficulties that the war had left as an aftermath. During the 1970s Crete became a major tourist destination for Greek and international tourists, something that gave a significant boost to the city's economy and affected the everyday life and the overall culture of the locals. The capital of Crete was moved to Heraklion in 1971.

Historical population

YearMunicipality population
198149,471
199154,007
200158,373

Cityscape

File:Chania
Chania Old Harbour panorama.

The city of Chania can be divided in two parts: the old town and the modern city which is the larger one. The old town is situated next to the old harbour and is the matrix around which the whole urban area was developed. It used to be surrounded by the old Venetian fortifications that started to be built in 1538; of them the eastern and western parts have survived. From the south, the old town is continuous with the new, and from the north the physical border is the sea. The centre of the modern city is the area extending next to the old town and especially towards the south.

The old town

File:Chania old
Traditional street in the old town.
File:Chania
Kastelli.

Despite being heavily bombed during World War II, Chania's Old Town is considered the most beautiful urban district on Crete, especially the crumbling Venetian harbour. The borders of the Old Town are the mostly destroyed old Venetian wall (and bulwarks) and this has been the cradle of all the civilizations which were developed in the area. The central part of the old town is named Kasteli and has been inhabited since Neolithic times. It is located on a small hill right next to the seafront and has always been the ideal place for a settlement due to its secure position, its location next to the harbour and its proximity to the fertile valley in the south. Nowadays it is a bit more quiet than the neighbouring areas of the west part of the district. The Splantzia quarter (next to the east part of Kasteli) is also largely untouched and very atmospheric. A plan for its future development is now under consideration.

The main square of the Old Town (next to the west end of Kasteli) is the Eleftherios Venizelos Square ("Syntrivani"). It is the heart of the touristic activities in the area. Next to this (on the west side) lies the Topanas district, which used to be the Christian part of the city during the Turkish occupation. Its name comes from the Venetian ammunition warehouse (Top-Hane in Turkish), which was located there. The Jewish quarter ("Evraiki" or "Ovraiki") was located at the north-west of the Old Town, behind the harbour and within the borders of Topanas. The whole Topanas area is generally very picturesque, with many narrow alleys and old charming buildings, some of which have been restored as hotels, restaurants, shops and bars. This makes it a lively and colourful place especially during the warm period (April-October). In the winter, it still remains a center of activities (especially for nightlife) but in a more quiet and atmospheric way.

Finally, a very distinctive area of the Old Town is the harbour itself and generally the seafront ("akti"). Akti Tompazi, Akti Kountouriotou and Akti Enoseos (marina) all feature several historical buildings and a thriving nightlife. The main street that combines the modern town with the old town is Halidon Str.

The modern city

[[File:|thumb|The Orthodox Cathedral.]]

The modern part of Chania is where most locals live and work. It is less traditional than the old town, but there are still areas of charming beauty or of some historical interest. The oldest district (early 18th century) of the modern city is Nea Hora (meaning "New Town") which is located beyond the west end of the old town. It is a developing area, but also a very picturesque one, with narrow old lanes leading to a small fishing harbour. During the same era the district of Halepa begun to grow to the east of the city and used to be home for the local aristocracy. Some of the historical buildings of the area (including old embassies of foreign countries) had been destroyed or abandoned during the later decades of the 20th century, and it was only recently when some interest was shown for the restoration of the remaining ones.

Other historical buildings in the area include Eleftherios Venizelos’s House (built 1876-1880), the old French school (now property of the Technical University of Crete, housing the Department of Architecture), the Church of Agia Magdalini (built 1901-1903), The “Palace” (built 1882, house of Prince George during the period of the Cretan independence) and The Church of Evangelistria (built 1908-1923). Part of the marine area of Halepa is called Tabakaria, where a unique architectural complex of old leather processing houses is situated. The district of Koum Kapi (the Venetians had first named it "Sabbionara", which means "the Gate of the Sand", the same as "Koum Kapi") situated beyond the walls at the eastern part of the old town, was also one of the first places to be inhabited outside the fortification walls. Initially, it was home for the "Halikoutes", a group of bedouins from North Africa who had actually settled there since the last years of the Turkish occupation. Nowadays it is a developing area with many trendy cafes, bars and restaurants on its picturesque beach.

Apart from the previously mentioned older districts of the modern part of the town, several new residential areas have been developed during the 20th century, like Agios Ioannis, Koumbes, Lentariana etc. Some part — but not the biggest — of the city centre is dominated by colourless medium-height block buildings, typical of the urbanization period of Greece (1950–1970). However, there are still some beautiful neoclassical houses especially at the eastern part of Chania and some of the neighbourhoods surrounding the centre are quite picturesque. The plan of the central area is very good, there are some nice parks and several sports grounds, the most important being the Venizeleio Stadium of Chania and the Swimming Pool at Nea Hora. The 1913 indoor market ("Agora"), a large building based on the market of Marseille, is on the edge of the old town and is popular with tourists and locals alike. Some other important sites of the newer urban area are The Court House ("Dikastiria", built late 19th century), The Public Gardens ("Kipos", created 1870), The Garden Clock-Tower ("Roloi", built 1924-1927), The Episcopal Residence (Bishop's residence, "Despotiko", built early 19th century) and the House of Manousos Koundouros (built 1909), the Cultural Centre ("Pnevmatiko Kentro"). The central largest squares in Chania are the Market Square ("Agora"), the Court House Square ("Dikastiria") and the "1866 Square".

In the last two decades there has been a profound movement of Chania residents towards the suburbs, as well as towards areas around the city which used to be rural, mainly the Akrotiri Peninsula.

Culture

The cultural background of Chania is very rich, first of all due to the town's long history and its interaction with many diverse civilizations in the past. Furthermore the location of Crete (immediately connected to Athens, situated between Europe, Asia and Africa) as well as the cosmopolitan atmosphere that tourism creates, have generally kept the town up-to-date with modern advances in art and knowledge. Currently, there are several museums, art galleries, theatre and music groups, educational and research institutions within the city.

The most important museums in Chania are:

Several theatre groups are active in Chania with the most important being the Municipal and Regional Theatre of Crete (DI.PE.THE.K) [3]. The repertoire includes old and contemporary plays from Greek and foreign writers. The Venizelian Conservatory of Music ("Odeion", established 1931) is also one of the most important cultural societies in Crete. A recent attempt from the municipality to create a chamber music group named "Sinfonietta" has been successful and its performances throughout the year have enriched the cultural event calendar of the city. There is also a significant community of people who focus on alternative/indie music as well as jazz and some interesting bands performing modern musical styles. A number of traditional [Cretan] musicians are also active in town.

The city is also quite cinephile. There are five cinemas (two of them open-air), concentrating both in commercial and independent movies and occasionally organizing small festivals.

During the summer period a variety of cultural events take place on a daily basis. Theatrical plays, concerts and several exhibitions from Greek and foreign artists are organized either by the municipality or by individuals. A venue which hosts many of these events is a theater located in the east bulwark of the Old Town ("Anatoliki Tafros"). Also, several festivals, conferences or sport events take place in Chania especially between May and September. The Venizeleia athletics competition is one of the most noteworthy events of the year.

Cultural life throughout the wintry period of the year (November-March) is not as rich as in the summer, but it is certainly maintained to a good standard. During the last years there has been a substantial effort by both the city councils and by the locals to create the background for the city to be in the centre of interest throughout the year. Towards this direction, the increasing number of students moving to Chania for their studies has proved to be helpful. There is also some effort to promote Crete as a tourist destination for all seasons — a role that the island could easily hold — which would also support both the local economy and culture.

A major role in the city's cultural life is played by the Municipal Cultural Corporation of Chania (DI.P.E.X.) [4] which organizes a significant part of the events taking place throughout the year.

There is a French, a German, an Italian and a Swedish consulate in Chania.

Sports

Water sports are very popular in Chania and especially the local water polo team (Nautical Club of Chania, N.O.X. [5]) has managed to be a protagonist in the primary league of the Greek national championship for years. Several athletes of this team have also played extensively for the Greek national team which has achieved major international successes.

Football and basketball are also very popular in the town, however not as successful. The main football teams are "A.O.X" (Sports Club of Chania). and "Ionia". The main clubs for athletics are "Eleftherios Venizelos" and "Kydon". The "Antisfairisi" club is specialized in tennis and table tennis and has also a significant tradition in chess. Many of the above sports are being practiced in the National Stadium of Chania, constructed in 1935 with the financial support of Elena Venizelou, then wife of Eleftherios Venizelos. There is also an open swimming pool for water sports in Nea Chora and a new indoor one which is being built on the nearby Akrotiri Peninsula. A modern indoor stadium for basketball / volleyball etc has also been built (2002–2005) near Nea Chora (Kladisos area).

It also has to be mentioned that there is a very active climbing / mountain walking club (Greek Mountaineering Club of Chania, E.O.S. Chanion [6]) organizing weekly excursions of varying difficulty on the mountains of Crete and several other longer term missions in mainland Greece and abroad.

Education/Research

Educational institutions located at the greater area of the city are:

  • The Technical University of Crete [7]. It is the largest educational institution in Chania with around 2600 undergraduate and 700 postgraduate students. It is focusing on Electronic and Computer Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Production Engineering and Management, Mineral Resources Engineering, Sciences and Architecture. Future plans include a Civil Engineering and a Fine Arts department.
  • The Chania branch of the Technological Educational Institute of Crete [8]
  • The Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania [9]

Other research and intellectual institutes and societies in Chania are:

  • The National Research Foundation "Eleftherios K. Venizelos" [10]
  • The Mediterranean Architecture Centre (KAM) [11]
  • The Institute of Olive Tree and Subtropical Plants of Chania [12]
  • The Institute of Cretan Law
  • The Historical, Laographical and Archaeological Society of Crete

Primary and secondary schools are mainly public in Chania (as in all cities in Greece). However there has been a slow development of some private high schools recently. Among the "Eniaia Lykeia" (Unified Upper Secondary Schools) of the town there is an autonomus Ecclesiastical Lyceum in Agios Mattheos.

Economy

File:Chania - Agora
The central Market Square ("Agora").

Two main sources of wealth in Chania are agriculture and tourism. A big portion of the city's residents (not necessarily farmers) own from few to many decares of agricultural land where several plants are being cultivated, the most popular ones being olive trees and citrus. Other important products include wine, avocados, dairy etc. Apart from the traditional ways of cultivation, some of the producers have concentrated on practicing new methods in order to promote organic food. The organization of the Agricultural August [13] has been a recent attempt to promote local quality products including a series of activities organised by the Prefecture of Chania since 1999 and has proved very successful.

On the other hand, tourism has developed rapidly during the last decades, starting from the early 1970s. Nowadays the tertiary sector is becoming more and more important for the locals, since an increasing number of them are participating in the business. Agrotourism and ecotourism are forms of tourism which are significantly developing lately.

There is also some secondary industry with focus on the processing-packaging of the agricultural products (some of them export oriented) or manufacture products that support the agricultural production. On the other hand, the growth and development of academic/research institutions in Chania is a challenge for future economic activities by taking advantage of the specialised knowledge of scientists and technicians and by also reinforcing quality tourism (conferences etc.).

An important centre of the economic activities in the town is the Chania Chamber of Commerce and Industry (E.B.E.X.) [14].

Health care

The main health center in the city is the General Hospital "Agios Georgios". Other institutions include the Crete Naval Hospital, the branch of the National Centre for Emergency Medical Care (E.K.A.B.) and the Clinic of Chronic Disease. The Chania branch of the Organisation Against Drugs (Ο.ΚΑ.ΝΑ.) opened in 2003.

There is also a number of private clinics and medical centers specializing in various areas within the town.

Transportation

The city is served by Ioannis Daskalogiannis Chania International Airport (IATA code: CHQ) on the Akrotiri Peninsula. The airport is named after Daskalogiannis, a Sfakiot hero who was skinned by the Turks in the 18th century.

There are several flights a day from Athens to Chania, with Aegean Airlines and Olympic Airlines. From April-early November, there are many direct charter flights to Chania from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, other European countries, and Scandinavia.

Souda, some 7 km (4.3 mi) from Chania, is the city's port, with daily ferries to Piraeus and a NATO naval base.

Notable residents

  • Elpis Melena 1818-1899 (born as Marie Espérance von Schwartz, German writer)
  • Eleftherios Venizelos 1864-1936 (prime minister of Greece 1910-1920, 1924, 1928–1932, 1933; widely considered as the most important statesman of modern Greece)
  • Constantinos Manos 1869-1913 (politician and writer of the late 19th and early 20th century)
  • Alexis Minotis 1898-1967 (famous stage and screen actor active between 1930s-1980s)
  • Manos Katrakis 1909-1984 (famous theater and film actor)
  • Constantine Mitsotakis *1918 (politician, prime minister of Greece 1990-1993, now the honorary president of the New Democracy party)
  • George Psychoundakis 1920-2006 (Cretan war hero and author)
  • John Craxton 1922-2009 (painter and British hon. consul.)
  • Kostas Moundakis 1926-1991 (Traditional Cretan music composer, Cretan lyra virtuoso and teacher)
  • Eftichios Bitsakis *1927 (philosopher – theoretical physicist)
  • Nana Mouskouri *1934 (one of the world's highest-selling female recording artist of all time)
  • Maro Douka 1947 (Greek novelist)
  • Eleni Daniilidou *1982 (Greece's Number 1 Tennis Player)

International relations

Twin towns — sister cities

Chania is twinned with:

See also

References

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Greece : Crete : Chania

Chania (Greek Χανιά, also transliterated Hania) is a beautiful port town on the north west coast of Crete, with an atmosphere reflecting its Venetian and Turkish past. Highly livable spot.

Understand

Chania and the long row of beach resorts stretching 20 km west along the beaches of the Chania bay is a well visited destination for scandinavian charter trips. Chania, being the nearest city, is a attractive destination for sightseeing and shopping for many tourists. Here is plenty of opportunities for eating and drinking on greek tavernas and modern cafés that are open into the night.

The old town is centred around the harbour, it is a maze of alleys and housesthat has been standing for many hundred years rebulit,ruined and built up again with details from the different epochs. Old town is full of souvenir, art and crafts shops; the new quarters house the regular span of shops, here you can find the most of your needs for the hiking or other adventures. The beaches begin in the city a bit away but not far from the old town.

Climate

Summers (april to october) are hot and dry with clear skies. Dry hot days are often relieved by a seasonal breeze from the north, meltemi. Occasional heat waves. Winters are mild with relatively little rain and rare frosts.

Get in

By plane

The city is served by Chania International Airport (IATA code: CHQ) on the Akrotiri Peninsula a bit east of the city. The airport is named after Daskalogiannis, a Sfakiot hero who was skinned by the Turks in the 18th century. It is rather small with six gates. tel: +30 28210 83800

There are several flights a day from Athens to Chania, with Aegean Airlines and Olympic Airlines. From April to early November, there are many direct charter flights to Chania from the UK, Germany, Scandinavia and other European countries.

By Ferry

Ferry services from Athens (Piraeus port) to Chania (Hania) anchor at the nearby port of Souda. Daily ferries, one ordinary with ANEK and one fast catamaran with Hellenic Seaways.

By bus

Chania is connected with the rest of Crete by regular bus lines operated the KTEL company [1]. The coaches are modern, comfortable and air-conditioned. Fare is reasonable. Public transportation is fairly frequent and timetables quite trustworthy. Bus services along the north coast and towards the south coast are excellent, reliable, frequent and cheap.

By car

Highway E75 (A90) goes along the North coast of Crete from Heraklion to Kissamos, it goes by the southern outskirts of the town. The old road, that still has the name 90, is parallell to the new highway and is the main road through all the small resorts west of Chania.

Get around

If you are on Crete to see the 'real Crete', as opposed to the night clubs for tourists, then visiting the villages of the island is a must. All Cretan culture can be seen, heard and tasted in the villages. The Cretans at work or at leisure will always welcome visitors and show you how to do things the correct way. All villages have a central kafenion (coffee shop) which is where all people eventually end up. The kafenion, apart from being a place to meet friends for a coffee, raki or a game of tavli, is used as the main information centre of the village. Be aware, however, that the kafenion is still very much a male dominion and women are generally not welcome inside (as opposed to a kafeteria or regular cafe). Most villages have war memorials and the locals will willingly fill in any missing information. Gavalohori has a wonderful Folklore Museum where much about village life can be learned.

  • Etz Hayyim Synagogue, Parados Kondylaki, 730 11, Hania, Crete, Hellas (GR) (The synagogue can be reached by walking up Kondylaki Street from the harbour and taking the second turn to the right (please check also the map icon bellow). This street is only about 25 meters long and leads to a cross street with no other exits. On reaching that intersection, the stone wall and entrance to the courtyard of the synagogue are directly in front of you.), +30 28210 862 86, [2]. 10:00 - 18:00. Until 1999 Etz Hayyim was a desecrated house of prayer that remained the sole Jewish monument on the Island of Crete after the destruction of Crete's Jewish community in 1944. Essentially it stood as a monument to the success of the Nazis in obliterating 2300 years of Jewish life on the Island of Crete. Between 1996 and the year of its re-dedication in 1999, the structure was painstakingly restored. The philosophy that directed this work is summed up in the Hebrew Am Israel Hayy:'The people of Israel Live'. Today it stands as a vibrant statement of Jewish life, vitality and values, whereas until recently it was still mentioned on the World Monument Fund's list of most endangered sites.  edit
  • The Archaeological Museum of Hania [3] is well worth a visit.
  • Mpourakis in Kounoupidiana is the absolute must in Chania eating. Traditional cousine with exquisite tastes at reasonable prices in a very cared environment and cooking only with extra virgin olive oil. From Kounoupidiana center take the road on the right go towards Stavros, 100 meters on your right side.
  • The Roadhouse Bar & Grill (Mike's Roadhouse), Kounoupidiana, Akrotiri (Go 7km east on Leoforos Venezelos (Main Road) out of Hania towards the Akrotiri Peninsula.), +30 28210 64072. Everyday 7pm. Mike's Roadhouse is a bar & grill with great cheeseburgers and chili. Mike and Petia speak fluent English, Bulgarian, and German. Pick up a microphone and sing to Karaoke. $$.  edit
  • Mike's in Maleme, 17 km west from Chania. Are still all the foods home made cooking .
  • Pinaleon in El.Venizelou. Good tavern with tasty food from the cretan cuisine with low prices.

Sleep

Chania and environs off accommodations ranging from hostels to 5 star hotels. The historical backstreets by the old harbor in Chania are full of old Venetian houses that have been renovated into hotels, some of which are very well priced with a unique atmosphere, friendly proprietors and, obviously, an excellent location. However, most of these are not advertised online, so unless you are going at the peak season (June-August), consider not making a reservation and shopping for accommodation once there. You will likely find yourself happily surprised.

  • 150 Hotels and Villas in Chania, [4].

Hotels in Chania City:

  • Iro Apartments, 36 K. Paleologu Street, TEL./FAX: (0030)2821074269, [5]. Charming, small hotel combining vicinity to the centre of Chania and the old town (within 900 m) as well as the sandy beach of Nea Hora (30 m away). Great atmosphere; makes you feel like a member of the family.
  • Hotel Helena - Lovely hotel, very reasonable prices in the off-season (One traveler paid a total of €40/night for a triple in April; the prices listed are somewhat more at €35/n for a single and €55/n for a double), with a very friendly and chatty proprietor who was always available to provide advice or assistance. Just two streets down from the waterfront. An excellent find.
  • Kalliopi Studios - Apartments [6] - Holidays Crete.
  • Ontas Traditional Hotel, Epimenidou and Ikarou, +30 28210-27691, [7] - in the old town of Chania.
  • Vilelmine Hotel, 32 Betolo St., +30 2821 0 46048, [8]. Quaint, clean, centrally located in the Old Town of Chania.

Outside Chania city:

  • Aneexe Apartments, New Kydonia - Chania - Crete - Greece, website: [9] , TEL./FAX: (0030)6948634488, The 5 apartments are located in Daratsos, New Kydonia, only 4 km from Chania and 1,2 km from the beach in one of the most beautiful spots of the Crete Island. From here you can make some very nice tours and discover Crete by bus or car or boat.
  • Frideriki Studios & Apartments [10] - in the village of Platanias
  • Mike Hotel & Apartments [11] - in the village of Maleme
  • Sunrise Studios Chania [12] - in the village of Kalathas
  • Corissia Group Hotels [13] in Chania Georgioupolis Crete.
  • Villalux, Kalathas Beach, [14]. Luxury Villa rental in Kalathas/Tersanas  edit
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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

Alternative spellings

Proper noun

Singular
Chania

Plural
-

Chania

  1. The second largest city in Crete, Greece.

See also

Anagrams


Simple English

File:Chania harbour
the old harbour of Chania

Chania is a Greek city which is the capital of Chania prefecture. It is located in the west of Crete. Its population is 55,838 inhabitants. Chania has an important port which connects Chania with the port of Piraeus.

History

Chania had an significant development from 13th century till 17th century. Then it was under Venetian rule. After the Venetians, ruled the Ottomans until 1912. This year Crete was liberated and it is united with Greece.

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