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Attractions in Chania

Chania is an ancient city in Greece, located in the north of the island of Crete. Until the early 1970s, Chania was the capital of Crete, and today it is the second most populous city on the island. Today it is a great place for beach and sightseeing holidays. Here you can see archaeological ruins, the intersection of Christian and Muslim cultures, great natural attractions, etc.

History of Chania

In the middle of the 13th century Crete was taken over by the Venetians who bought it back from the Crusaders for 1,000 marks in silver. But a decade later they were driven from the island by the Genoese. Twenty years later, the Venetians managed to come back and take it back.

Chania - Crete

Under the Venetians, Chania became the island’s capital and most important trading city, and Crete itself flourished. The relations of the Cretans with the Venetians were positive, although the former were Orthodox and the latter Catholic.

In the middle of the 14th century, Constantinople fell, and many scholars, artists and religious figures found refuge in Crete. It was during these times that a unique blend of Byzantine, Venetian and Cypriot cultures developed on the island.

History of Chania

In the middle of the 17th century Crete was conquered by the Ottoman Turks. Christian churches turned into Muslim mosques, the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, the Church of the Holy Trinity, and the Church of the Holy Trinity. The Church of St. Nicholas, which belonged to the Dominican order, became the main mosque. In the city appeared Turkish baths, opened the oriental fountains.

In the early 20th century, after a long struggle of Greeks against the Turks, Crete officially became part of Greece, and the Turks fled from Crete to Turkey. Since then, the island has been considerably Europeanized. But Islamic monuments are preserved.

The main attractions of Chania in Crete

What to see in Chania? We offer you the most interesting cultural, historical and architectural attractions of Chania with brief descriptions and photos.



This promenade was built during the Venetian period of Chania’s history. For the sake of it tourists come here from all over the world, because the Venetian promenade is one of the five best in Greece. Thanks to her, the city is often called the Venice of the South.

The waterfront, built by the Venetians in the mid-13th century, gives this seaside town a special charm and sophistication, like nostalgia for Venice. Every day in high season, thousands of tourists stroll along the long walkway.

Around you can see the picturesque colorful houses, cafes, restaurants, shops, souvenir shops. Especially attracts vacationers the old city lighthouse, the mosque of the Renaissance, etc.

Kucuk Hasan Mosque

Kucuk Hasan Mosque in Chania

This mosque is one of the main attractions of Greek Chania. It stands on its Venetian promenade and invariably attracts a mass of tourists. The mosque was erected in the early 17th century and is a symbol of Muslim art.

It is a building with foundations and walls built in the shape of a cube, a large hemisphere-shaped dome that sits on stone arches, and several other smaller domes, always interesting to architects.

The mosque was designed by a famous Armenian architect. It has remained virtually intact, except for the minaret, which was destroyed in the early 20th century. In the courtyard of the mosque are buried the pashas and janissaries who ruled and lived in Chania.

Old Town

Old Town of Chania

This historic and cultural center of the city was built by the Venetians. In those days Chania was the commercial and financial center of Crete, rapidly developing, expanding and prospering. The old town is located at the ancient Castelli Hill.

During the war, the Old Town suffered surprisingly little damage from bombing. Today it is simply magnificent and is rightfully one of the most beautiful in the Mediterranean.

Walking through the narrow streets of the Old Town you will feel yourself in the High Middle Ages. The architecture of some of the buildings in this place was also influenced by Modern times. This interweaving of styles made the Old Town even more beautiful.

Samaria Gorge

Samaria Gorge near Chania

This gorge is one of the most beautiful natural attractions of Chania and Crete. There are many caves and gorges, but this is the most picturesque, amazing and longest – more than 16 km.

There is a European diploma, according to which the Samaria Gorge is recognized as a place of special beauty. It was described with admiration by ancient authors, worshipping the local flora and fauna.

In honor of the ancient Greek gods several thousand years ago in the gorge were built temples, but today they remained only ruins. During the Turkish yoke, the Greeks who fought the Ottoman Turks hid in this gorge.

The Monastery of Sts. Trinity

The Monastery of the Holy Trinity - Chania

This monastery is a must-see in Chania. In Greek it is called Agia Triada Dzangorolon. The monastery was built in the early 17th century, and today belongs to the Orthodox Church of Constantinople.

It was built by the Venetian brothers Zangaroli on the eve of the Turkish yoke over the whole territory of Crete. During the construction of the Orthodox monastery used the lush Byzantine style, the facade is decorated with columns.

At the monastery previously operated a theological seminary. Then for a long time it was destroyed by the Turks, but after the Greek Revolution it was restored. Today it has a museum and a large library with ancient icons.


Cathedral - Chania

This cathedral is located in the eastern part of Chania and is a three-nave church with a bell tower. In the 11th century, a small Church of the Presentation stood in its place, but it was destroyed by the Venetians, who preached Catholicism.

At the end of the 17th century, the Turks who conquered Crete built a soap factory on the site of an Orthodox church. But in the mid-19th century, Vizier Mustafa Pasha gave this plant to the Orthodox community of Crete and gave money to build a new church.

A decade later, the church was built and consecrated. Today it is active, and believers come there. The cathedral is also accessible to tourists who like to view ancient Greek icons.

Archaeological Museum

Archaeological Museum of Chania

This museum is definitely worth seeing in Chania. It was founded in the 1960s and is located in the center of Old Town. In the museum you can learn in detail about the history of Crete from the Neolithic Age to ancient Rome.

Today, the Archaeological Museum itself is a historical monument, which was a mosque during the Turkish yoke. Then there was a movie theater before the war, and after it was a warehouse for military equipment.

Today, any visitor can view exhibits from the Minoan civilization, the era of the development, greatness and fall of Rome, to see artifacts relating to the history of Chania: ceramics, sculptures, coins, weapons, jewelry, sarcophagi, etc.

Gverneto Monastery

Gouverneto Monastery - a historical landmark of Chania

This monastery was built in the mid-16th century, originally in the Venetian style, and later some Baroque elements were added to its architecture. It was intended not only for worship, but also for defense.

There are 50 cells where the brethren used to live. And in the monastery courtyard there are many sculptures depicting various monsters. Historians claim that in the 16th century the monastery was run by a Venetian monk.

In the early 19th century, the Turks attacked Gouverneto, they brutally murdered the monks and looted the monastery. During the World War it was destroyed by the Nazis. Today, Gouverneto is being restored with three monks living there.

Balos Beach

Gorgeous Balos Beach in Chania

It is one of the most beautiful places in Crete near Chania. Here the three seas of the Mediterranean join, and a comfortable lagoon is formed. Balos beach is famous for its pure white sand and turquoise sea water. The depth of the sea near the beach does not reach one and a half meters.

It is an ideal place for bathing children. The water is steamy, clean and very calm. Hundreds of shades of turquoise change throughout the day. In some places the sand is not white, but pinkish, it is thousands of broken sea shells over the centuries.

On Balos you can dive deep and see the unique nature of these places: marine life, which is not found anywhere else. It is also possible to see plants that have acquired special forms due to the uniqueness of the local climate, etc.

Chania sights on the map

Video overview of the sights of Chania

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