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Chania city sights

Chania city sights: A “gem city” for Crete, Greece, and the Mediterranean.

Chania city sights are so many, that few other cities, not only in Greece, but in Europe, too, can claim to have. Beyond the sights, big advantages of Chania city are its size, which is neither too big nor too small, and the fact that Chania is at the same time a modern, lively city, with all the amenities a traveler can ask for.

Apart from the excellent Chania Old Town, which is the subject of another page in this web site, the more significant Chania city sights, which you have to see, especially if you are a first-time visitor to Crete, lie at the famous Chania Venetian Harbor.

Chania city sights in the western side of the Venetian Harbor

The most known to Greece and Europe quarter of Chania city is the gorgeous Venetian Harbor. The Venetian Harbor is the natural extension towards the sea of the picturesque Chania Old Town.

The Venetian Harbor was built during the Venetian era from the Venetians, in order to commercially upgrade the island of Crete, and also to protect the commercial ships of the Venetians in the area from the pirates. The Venetian Harbor was one of the most significant construction projects of the Venetians in the Mediterranean, and a true masterpiece of civil engineering in its era. The Venetian Harbor, to be exact, is not a sight itself, but a collection of magnificent Chania city sights, which were built in different periods of history.

In the western side of the Venetian Harbor we find the imposing Firkas Fortress. The fortress, which is one of the most known sights of the city, is home today to the Chania Maritime Museum, and also has a small open air theatre. During the Ottoman occupation it was converted to a prison, one of the most terrifying of its era, in which many of the revolutionists of Crete, who wanted the liberation of Crete from the Ottomans, were imprisoned. The view from Firkas Fortress towards the Venetian Harbor is stunning.

Going further to the east from Firkas Fortress, we walk along the very picturesque coastal walkway of the harbor, which is full of cafes, taverns and small stores. In the deepest point of the western side of the harbor, we meet the beginning of Halidon Street, the central street of Chania Old Town. On Halidon Street you will also find some of the most known Chania city sights.

Going eastern along the harbor, we find an old Ottoman building, the so-called “Yiali Tzamisi”, with its characteristic vaulted ceiling. Yali Tzamisi, which is also known as “Kioutsouk Hasan Mosque”, is the most significant Ottoman sight of Chania city in the Venetian Harbor.

Chania city sights in the eastern side of the Venetian Harbor

Going further to the east, we find the place where the Venetian frigates of the era anchored, which has now been transformed into a modern marina, the Chania City Marina. Behind this modern sight, there is an older one: The big Venetian Neoria or Arsenalis, with their characteristic big sloping ceilings, which had been constructed from the Venetians as shipyards, and later they were converted to large food warehouses, in order to supply food for the city during the hard times of the sieges from the Ottomans and the pirates. Today, the biggest of the Venetian Neoria, the “Great Arsenali”, as it is called, has undergone a smart renovation and has been converted to the Center of Mediterranean Architecture, the headquarters of a known European organization which is based in Chania city.

After the Venetian Neoria, we find the so-called sea wall, which forms the northern breakwater that protects the Venetian Harbor. We can walk on the sea wall, from which we enjoy an excellent view to both the Venetian Harbor and the sea. If you like taking beautiful pictures in your vacation, the view from the sea wall will fascinate you!

At the end of the sea wall, and on the opposite side of the harbor from Firkas Fortress, we find another landmark sight of Chania city, the Arabian Lighthouse. The lighthouse, which took its name after the Egyptians who renovated it during the Ottoman era, is possibly the most photographed sight of Chania city. Recently renovated, the Arabian Lighthouse overlooks the Venetian Harbor of Chania city.

Chania city sights are more than the ones we find in the Old Town and in the Venetian Harbor of Chania city. But these two quarters, which still seem to be living in past centuries, surely have the most and the better known of the Chania city sights, making a visit to them essential for every traveler to Crete.