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Exploring the past: Old City of Chania

We suggest to the visitor of Chania to have a walk in the historic center of the city, a tour through the crossroads and the cobbled roads of civilizations, beginning from the central point of Chania, the Municipal Market (A), which opened in 1913 on the demolished Venetian bastion Piatta Forma.

It is a splendid cruciform building that accommodates more than 70 shops, where you can find all local products. Walking down the western stairs of the Market the visitor arrives at the new pedestrian zone of Mousouron Street with shops in the ward Katola. Walking north in Mousouron street, the visitor turns left to arrive at the pedestrian zone of Skridlof street, known as “Stivanadika”, one of the most popular tourist roads in Chania.

The pedestrian zone cuts Halidon Street, where you can find the buildings of the historical Philological Association “Chrysostomos” and of the Municipal Art Gallery of Chania (B).  This graphic street leads downhill to the old city and the Venetian Port, passing in frond of Mitropoleos Square with the impressive Temple of Eisodion, the Catholic Church of Chania (C) and the temple of Agios Fragkiskos that hosts the Archaeological Museum (D).

Turning right to Karaoli Dimitriou Street in Halidon Street, we leave behind us the Byzantine Walls of Kydonia. Through the gate of the Byzantine Wall and Katre Street we go up in Kanebaro Street where we can visit the excavated Minoan settlement. Keep walking in Kanevaro Street, we turn left in Agiou Markou Street, where the ruins of the Venetian Monastery and the church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli (1615) are still visible.

Reaching the end of Kasteli citadel unfolds in front of us the unique Venetian Port of Chania with the two groups of Venetian Neoria (14-16th century) to the east and the called Grand Arsenal in front of us. Going down the steps in the end of Agios  Markos Street, we arrive at Akti Enoseos Street, near the Great Arsenal, which, completely renovated, hosts today the Center of Mediterranean Architecture (E). At the opposite side is located the long harbour breakwaters with the small castle of San Nicolo that ends to the Egyptian lighthouse, the principal characteristic of the port.

Walking to the west along Akti Topazi Street, we stop at the Muslim mosque of Kiutzuk Hasan (1645) (F), which hosts several exhibitions during the summer. Continuing our seaside walk we can see the Fountain Square, while at the west end of the port is located Firkas castle (G), where the Greek Flag was raised officially on December 1st 1913 for the union of Crete with Greece. The castle hosts Maritime Museum of Crete and Historical, Folklore and Archaeological Society of Crete.

Walking circumferential of the castle, we walk up Theotokopoulou Street, where we can see at the left the church of San Salvatore (15-17th century) that hosts Byzantine and Postbyzantine Collection of Chania (H). The traditional district of Topana, as it was named because of the Venetian powder magazine that existed there (top hane in Turkish), begins from there.

At the end of Theotokopoulou Street we walk down Douka Street and arrive at the center of the aristocratic neighborhood of the Venetian city. There we can admire the huge aristocratic houses of the Venetian and later Turkish noble, the buildings of wonderful architecture of Theofanous Street, which have been renovated and are used as hostels.  The Palazzo of Renier family in Moschon Street that was built in the 15th century with the small family chapel of Agios Nikolaos and the impressive entrance with the Latin sign and the blazon of the family is very special.

Keep walking down Zampeliou Street, we leave behind us on the right the old Jewish District or “Ovriaki” with the renovated, unique for Crete, Jewish synagogue. Finally, it worth walking east of the port where we can see the historical Splanzia Square that hosts the church of Agios Nikolaos (1204) (I) with the Turkish minaret and the Renaissance temple of Agios Rokkos (1630).

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