Chania Crete travel guide

Chania is a jumbled mix of ancient and modern, Venetian and Turkish. The Arabs gave Chania its name in 828 AD, while the Venetians built the Kastelli in the late 13th century.

Chania was completely rebuilt in the 16th century then, In the 17th century, it was the turn of the Turks who added elegant mosques and beautiful gardens.

Greek rule saw the old walls torn down and an urban sprawl of concrete. Chania suffered severe bombing in World War II.

The inner harbour is Chania's honey pot tourist trap, with taverna tables on the quayside, street vendors and pony trap rides.

West of the harbour is the Firkas, an Ottoman fortress inside a Venetian bastion. Once a prison, it is now a naval museum with models of early ships and a large display of the Battle of Crete.

The main tourist streets are Theotokopouliou and Halidon. The former is in the old Jewish quarter and noted for its old Venetian frontages and small craft shops.

Halidon has a fine archaeological museum and a leather market. The main Chania market in the shape of a cross and crammed with everything from pig's heads to pickled vegetables.

There are fewer cafes, at the western harbour but the restored Venetian arsenals with their vaulted roofs are worth seeing while the famous Chania lighthouse perches at the end of the sea wall.