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Chania old town

Chania Old Town: The historical, lively center of Chania city, which is continuously inhabited for centuries.

Chania Old Town fascinates the visitor at first sight. The Old Town was historically the first part of the city that was inhabited.

Chania Old Town lies exactly behind the famous Chania Venetian Harbor. It is characterized by narrow alleys and has some of the finest old buildings in Crete, from a variety of civilizations, like the Greek, the Venetian, the Jewish and the Ottoman.

Chania Old Town - the most significant sights

Chania Old Town is literally full of interesting buildings from different historical periods and civilizations, making it truly difficult to distinguish some of them.

Most possibly Halidon Street, the most central street of the Old Town, which goes downwards to the Venetian Harbor, is the best point to start your tour in Chania Old Town. A characteristic building in the middle of Halidon Street is the Archaeological Museum of Chania City. The old, stone-built building of the museum has a centuries-old religious history: During the Venetian years it was one of the most imposing churches in its era, and during the years of the Ottoman occupation, the Ottomans, as they generally used to do, converted it to a mosque.

Opposite the Archaeological Museum, on the other side of Halidon Street, there is a small square and right behind the square the impressive Chania Cathedral, or the “Trimartiri”, as it is called by the locals, for being dedicated to the Three Martyrs (or “Tris Martires” in Greek).

Well hidden inside the narrow alleys of the Old Town also lies the Jewish Synagogue. The Jewish Synagogue of Chania city has a big and interesting history. Today, the old, castled building of the synagogue functions as a bar - one of the most known in the city, which has the same name, “Synagogue”, or “Sinagogi” in Greek - and right next to it there is the new, more modern synagogue, which operates normally.

Chania Old Town - the timeless commercial center of the city

For many centuries, Chania Old Town used to be the commercial center of the city. And this tradition continues in our times, too. Every street and alley of the Old Town is full of small, traditional stores selling literally everything, with many of them selling souvenirs and gifts which are in demand by the travelers.

At the same time, in Chania Old Town you will also find many local traditional products, like the well known Cretan food (olive oil, olives, several types of cheese etc.) and the leather products of Crete. One of the most typical traditional products of Crete, which you will surely observe in the leather stores, is the “stivania”, big leather boots that are exceptionally durable, which were used by the farmers and the breeders in the rough, rocky parts of the island.

Nearby you will also find small stores selling the known Cretan knives, which often have Cretan couplets carved on them. The knife for centuries is an everyday companion of every Cretan, and the art of cutlery has reached high levels of perfection in the island.

On the eastern border of Chania Old Town you will also find the historical Chania Municipal Market. The Municipal Market was built about a century ago by Eleftherios Venizelos, one of the prominent politicians of Greece, who was born and raised in Chania, and from that times it continuously serves as the place where numerous local stores sell everything fresh and pure produced in Chania region, like olives, several types of Cretan cheese, meat, fishes, vegetables, fruits etc. In Chania Municipal Market you can also find smart gifts and souvenirs, and it is one of the best places in Chania city to buy something truly memorable.

Chania Old Town, this central quarter of Chania city which is full of people and small stores for many centuries, is a true live monument of past centuries long gone. When in Chania city, don’t forget to take your time wandering around the narrow alleys of Chania Old Town, and use all of your senses to experience one of the most remarkable sights in the Mediterranean.