Chania

Chania

The Town Outside the fortification Wall

Your private tour guide can help you explore some of Chania’s most recognizable locations.

Halepa is a neighborhood of Chania where the country houses of the leading social classes of the town were situated. Many have survived down to the present day, as for example the house of Eleftherios Venizelos (on Eleftherios Venizelos Square), which was built by his father Kyriakos and was completed in 1880 with many European architectural features. The Palace (El.Venizelou Square) an outstanding neoclassic building of 1882, the residence of the High Commissioner of Crete, Prince George. The Greek Consulate (113 El. Venizelos Street): was built during the last years of Turkish domination with strong neoclassic influence, symmetrically arranged. The Church of St Magdalene (on El. Venizelou Square) with strong influence of Russian architecture was built at the beginning of 1901.

Chrissopighi the Monastery of Zoodochou Pighi of Chartophylakas is situated 3 kilometers along the Southern road of Chania, a visit you can request on your private tour in Chania. A beautiful road leads to the gate of the monastery. At the entrance, there is a Byzantine inscription and under the inscription a coat of arms of Chartophylakas and the year of its foundation 1863. The monastery was founded by the Chartophylakas family of Chania approx. 1400 A.D and was used as a family temple. The first Byzantine church is preserved in the middle of today’s temple. Later on, they added the chapels of Saint Catherine, St John Theologos and the vestibule. The temple is surrounded by walls. In the middle of the square shaped site is the three-conched temple with the three vaults, consecrated to Zoodochos Pighi. On Easter day at the beginning of the 19th century, before the revolution of 1821, the Ottoman soldiers occupied the area and killed all the monks. Only one was saved from the massacre, known as Vassilis Hallis. In the monastery there are important documents related to its foundation, and old ecclesiastical seals.

Our travel guides can show you attractions like the most important buildings of Chania.

Important buildings of Chania

The Court House which is also used to house the Prefecture of Chania is a building that commenced during the last years of the Turkish occupation with the prospect of becoming a military hospital. The building consists of wings that are arranged in a rectangle to create an internal atrium. After a fire in 1936, it was renovated and a third floor was added. Today it houses the Prefecture of Chania and the Court House.

Between A. Papandreou Street (Demοkratias) and Tzanakaki Street we find the Municipal Garden, the “baksess” as it was called in the years of Turkish domination. The garden is the work of Reouf Pasha and a revitalizing place to visit on your private tour guide in Chania. It was designed in 1870 based on European models, and took its final shape with many trees and plants under the supervision and care of the local Pasha. The clock of the garden was constructed between 1924 and 192, which can be found on the North-eastern corner, it has a tripartite construction – a base, a main body with sides turning upwards and a crown that is formed into a circular pavilion. Today, we can find a refreshment bar, an open-air cinema (only during the summer), a small zoo and a children’s library.

The only library of Chania is housed on the first floor of the Town Hall and was founded in 1954. It contains thousands of volumes of books mainly about Crete, as well as one important collection of maps from the Venetian period. It also houses the entire library of Eleftherios Venizelos.

Our travel guides can arrange for a visit to the Municipal Market of Chania if you wish. For its erection, the central bastion of the city walls was demolished and the trench was filled in with rubble. C. Drandakis made the study for its construction. The market was founded on 14th April 1911 and was inaugurated by Eleftherios Venizelos on 4th December 1913 as part of the celebration that took place to commemorate the unification of Crete with Greece. It has the shape of a cross with wide entrances on the side wings of the cross. In this market you will find mainly food stores and local products. It is considered to be one of the most important markets in the Balkans.

Museums

As the tour makes its way, your private tour guide will show you the archaeological museum of Chania which is situated at 21st Halidon Street and is housed in the temple of St Franciscus. The exhibition area consists of two main areas. In the first half of the exhibition area, we see finds of the post-Neolithic era and those of the copper era. In the second half at the far end of the hall, antiquities of the historical era are displayed.

The tour starts from the left to right as you walk into the museum. In the showcases on the left there are vases and post-Neolithic ceramics (3.400-2.900) as far as the post-Minoan era (1.200 B.C.) ranging from the cave of Platiyolas to Keramia and from the cave Mameloukou of Kydonias Gardens. There are also vases, ceramics and small objects that were unearthed chiefly by the Greek-Swedish excavation (around the middle of the sixties and still continuing). It is worth giving special attention to the archives of tablets with Linear A Scripture, the clay discs and seals. One of the most important discoveries of minoan archaeology, as regards the theme of its representation, is a clay seal depicting a leader or a god on top of a multilevel building composite, that probably is a Minoan palace (1500-1400 B.C.). This is followed by showcases of vases of the Geometric era (1.000-700 B.C.), named geometric from its decorative designs on the vases, found mainly in cemeteries of the borough (Gavalomouri and Vouves Kissamou – Modi Kydonias).

Next, toward the eastern side of the museum, there are statues and sepulchral pillars of Hellenistic and Roman times, from various parts of the borough, but mainly from the Asklepeion of Lisso, from the Diktineo, a statue of Diana, a bust of the Emperor Hadrian from the Roman Kissamos. In the same area, one can see mosaics from the city of Chania (3rd century A.D.), which represent Poseidon liberating the nymph Amimone, daughter of the king of Argos, Danaos, from the hands of a Satyr, and also mosaics with representations of Dionysos and Ariadne in Naxos.

In the showcases on the right northern side of the museum, there are excellent archaic idols from Axos of Rethymno, as well as Hellenistic and Roman idols from various parts of Chania. Reddish and black-shaded vases of the post-classic period (4th century B.C.) from the cemetery of Falassarna and from the town of Chania, and Hellenistic and Roman vases and idols from the cemetery of Tarra, also glassware vases and lanterns of different eras from various parts of Chania. In special display cases, coins of Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine times are on display.

On the northern side and towards the exit to the courtyard of the Museum, as we go down two steps, there are display cases with seals and tablets with Linear A and B Scriptures from the town of Chania. Also, in other showcases in the same area, there are necklaces of glass beads and stoneware, copper hairpins and needles, small copper objects, like the copper arrow and the copper idol of an animal from a temple found in the Gorge of Samaria of the Roman period, various items of jewellery (silver, gold, copper). On the north-western side there are jars and vases of post-Minoan years, a few of which are ritualistic, but most of which come from the cemetery of Kidnap situated under today’s city of Hernia. Special attention should be given to the compass with a representation of a guitarist and to a double vase with a ritualistic character decorated with birds (1.400-1.200 B.C.). There is also a temporary exhibition of urns from the post-Minoan III A/B (1.400-1.200 B.C.) necropolis of the Armenians of Etymon with very beautiful representations. In the courtyard of the Museum, there is a beautiful garden with flowers, there are various sculptures from the period of Venetian domination, a marble lion and a marble fountain with lions heads that was set up in the Venetian period in Fountain Square at the port of Hernia. There is also a beautiful Turkish fountain.

On the site of Firkas there is the naval museum of Chania, where our tour guides can show you around. You can see nautical maps, engravings, and representations of ships.

It is located in the area of Eastern Venetian dockyards of Chania Old Harbor. At present, after its reconstruction, it is the only accessible to visitor Dockyard in the Venetian Port. Dockyard permanent collection includes: Ancient Shipbuilding Exhibition, Replica of the Old Minoan Ship, the tools, as well as the material used in its making, Traditional Shipbuilding Exhibition (full-scale fishing vessels, tools of traditional ship wrights, hoists, marine knots, blocks and tackles, the history of fishing in Crete, e.t.c).

This beautiful building was restored in 2002 and hosts the Mediterranean Architectural Center, for those of you interested you can arrange a visit with your private tour guide. This Venetian building, which started being built at the end of the 15th century was completed in 1600, has linked it’s presence with the history of the city of Chania. During its long life it has gone through different phases and has had several functions. It has been the school of the Christian community in the years of the Turkish domination, the municipal hospital in 1923 and the City Hall from 1928 until 1941. In 1941 it was bombed by the Germans and since then it remained the most beautiful ruin of the town, according to its citizens, up to its recent restoration.

Your tourist guide can take you a tour to the famous war museum of Chania as well, which is located in Stratigou Tzanakaki, 73100 Chania, Tel.: (28210) 44156, 81061, App. 134. The War Museum of Chania is to be found at Sfakianaki / Tzanakaki Street, beside the Municipal Garden. Admittance is free. It is open daily between 9.00 and 13.00 hrs, except Sundays and Mondays.

Str., Venetian Port., tel: 28210 96046. It is housed in the church of San Salvatore. It contains architectural sculptures, tomb inscriptions, a fragment of mosaic floor of the early Christian period, Mid and Late-Byzantine murals, Post-Byzantine icons, Venetian architectural sculpture, Byzantine coins and lead-bulla, Venetian coins, metal-work, jewels, and ceramics.

It is situated at 46B Chalidon Street in the Arcade of the Catholic Church. It is a private museum that offers a vivid picture of life on the island during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries; you can see high-quality craftsmanship in lace, ornamental covers and embroidery.

As the tour makes its way through museums your private tour guide can show you the artistic side of Chania, the Municipal Art Gallery.The building which houses the Municipal Art Gallery (restoration works began in 1998 were completed in 2001 and the Gallery commenced operation in May 2002) it was one of the three “Manousos Koundouros shops”, which were built in 1910 next to the South Trench, in front of the break in the wall, and was the topic of many disagreements, arguments and comments at the time. With the construction of these shops, and subsequent others along the city walls a part of the history of the city was destroyed. The mechanic Kromidas was responsible for the study and supervision of the works and the contractor Botonis Kourakis was responsible for the construction. The shops, three in a row, were built according to the building standards of the time on three levels, thus taking advantage of the difference in height between the trench and the road that was opened in the trench by demolishing part of the Medieval Wall. We do not know much about the use of the building after 1910 except that during World War II it was the Municipal Treasury- Tax Office. As a cultural space, it not only operates to house the cultural activities of the city but also to exhibit fine art and creations from other cities and countries. In the future, we hope to see the excellent collection of art, largely donated by artists, to the Municipality of Chania as part of the Museum’s permanent exhibit.

You can be guided through the Archaeological Museum of Kissamos which is housed in a Venetian-Turkish monument, known as the ‘headquarters’. The exhibits present the history of Kissamos district, from prehistoric times and Minoan period through late antiquity and cover two floors. There is a display of finds from the Minoan excavations at Nopigia village, which also contains finds that elucidate the development of the two most important city-states in West Crete, Polirrenia and Falassarna, presentation of the Hellenistic period with ceramic finds from minor regional towns, important Hellenistic inscriptions, sculpture collection, most of which date to the Roman imperial period, unique mosaic floors with figurative representations, a fragment of an inlaid (opus sectile) floor, a sundial, coins and coin hoards, local and imported amphora, domestic vessels and miscellaneous objects made of ceramic, metal or bones as well as jewellery of precious material, most of which came from graves.

If museums of Crete are going to be among the sites you are planning on visiting we advise to communicate either with the museums directly to assure the opening hours or let us know about the desirable program in advance when you send us your inquiry and we will organize everything regarding your private tour in Chania. Contact us for further information.

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