When you come to Chania at Althea Village Hotel you have to organize an exploration at the old harbor of Chania. The Old Town of Chania also known as the “Venice of the East.” is considered as one of the most alluring and fascinating parts of Crete and the Mediterranean. At this post, we will let you in the old town’s best-kept secrets and offer you a local’s insight into its arresting beauty and heritage.
The Old Town of Chania
Your first spot you have to visit is the old town. You can access the old town easily from any alley that connects the old town with the port.
The narrow, labyrinthine alleyways are dated dating from different periods. You will enjoy romantic strolls through the old buildings which most of them have been transformed into small hotels, shops and even homes that people still live in.
Pay also a visit to the sunbaked grounds of Firkas Fortress, an impressive attraction which is gating the entrance to the Venetian harbor. Built by the Venetians to defend the city and harbor from the Ottoman attack, the fortress is a worthwhile stop on your exploration of Chania.
As with many Venetian buildings that you will find around the Mediterranean you will see a fierce-looking lion carved in stone here. It is the symbol of the Venetian Republic. Underneath, see the cells that used to hold generations of Cretan prisoners during the Ottoman occupation.
Have the cool sea breeze caress your face as you look north over the blue of the Mediterranean Sea and listen to the rolling waves that wash over the rocks down below.
Giali Tzamisi is the unique preserved Mosque of the city and was built during the second half of the 17th century. The Mosque Kioutsouk (meaning “little”) Hassan or Giali Tzamisi (meaning, the Mosque of the Seaside), is a unique sample of Islamic art of Renaissance. Nowadays, the Mosque has been totally renovated and is used as a place for events and exhibitions mainly during the summer period, constituting one of the characteristic buildings of the old port of Chania.
The Arsenals of Chania are the old Venetian shipyards from the 15th century. These high arched buildings were where the Venetian merchant fleet was built and maintained.
There are nine of these long, narrow buildings remaining from the original twenty-three and they now serve in a variety of roles. Some are simply used for storage while others are used for exhibits and conference halls. One contains a replica of a Minoan ship that was actually rowed to Athens for the Summer Olympics in 2004. The Arsenal pictured here below was converted into a café and we couldn’t resist stopping for a break.
The lighthouse of Chania old port
Lastly, you will end up with the mole that will lead you to the Venetian lighthouse. The beautiful Chania old port lighthouse was built by the Venetians and rebuilt by the Egyptians in the early 19th century, taking the shape of a minaret. Today’s tower stands at 21m height and is visible within 7 miles.
From there you can enjoy a magnificent panoramic view of the harbor and the Chania old town with a background of the White Mountains!
As you can see, The Venetian old port of Chania is well worth an exploration. From ancient sites to fantastic views, from romantic streets to great food there is a lot of attractions to discover that will make your stay in Chania an unforgettable experience.