Chania(updated August 4, 2007)
After Heraklion, Chania is the second biggest city of Crete. It houses about 70,000 residents. The town lies about 160 kilometers west of Heraklion, on the northern coast of the island. Chania is without doubt the most beautiful city on the island.
The old harbour of Chania
During the Neolithic and Minoan period, the place where Chania lies was inhabited. At that time, the city was called Kydonia. Kydonia was an important center in the Minoan civilization. Also during the Roman period Kydonia was important. In the year 828 Kydonia was destroyed by the Saracens. During the Byzantine period Kydonia became less important quickly. The Venetians preferred Kastelli above Kydonia. In 1645 Chania was occupied by the Turks after a two-month battle. In the year 1850 they made Chania the capital of the whole island. This remained until in 1971 the more central located Heraklion became the capital.
The Venetian lighthouse
Chania is a beautiful and authentic city. Many buildings from different construction periods are preserved. There are beautiful buildings, parks and squares. Throughout the old center Venetian, Turkish and Jewish neighborhoods can be found, which all have their own atmosphere. One of the main buildings, is the building which currently houses the archaeological museum of the city. This is the Venetian church of Agios Frankiskos. You will find many old Turkish and Venetian buildings in the old port also. The Venetian lighthouse catches the eye. Fort Firkas, which was built in 1629, currently houses the maritime museum of the city. You can also find the residence of former president Eleftherios Venizelos in the city. In addition, there are dozens of other old buildings and monuments to admire.
There are more than enough restaurants in Chania. At the port you will find a number of them which are quite expensive. They all are of mediocre quality, and there are annoying waiters around. In the old center you can also find restaurants. They are often of much better quality. There are plenty of places where you can stay overnight. There is a campsite (3 kilometers west of the city) and there are cheap apartments / hotels (from around 20 euro's) and, of course, there are expensive (over about 200 euros) hotels. Chania, is cozy during the night, but it has no dancing.
The airport of Chania is situated about 15 kilometers east of the city. There is no public transport from the airport to the center of Chania. A taxi ride to the center costs about 13 euro's. By ferry Chania can be reached through Souda, the port of Chania and the largest port on the Mediterranean Sea. Buses ride from Souda to Chania. By bus it is easy to reach Chania from the rest of the island. From Heraklion, the bus drives through Rethymno to Chania. These buses ride very frequently. In the summer about once every half hour. Also, the buses are fast and advantageous. From the popular beach resorts like Chersonissos and Malia, Chania is also easily reached by bus. A transfer is needed in Heraklion. A day trip from the last two places is not an attraction, because of the long travel time. With a rental Chania is also easy to reach. Chania lies at the western end of the main road on the island. From that road it is easy to find the city.