CHANIA - THE CITY
Chania is a good starting point for a tour of the western part of Crete, a part of the island with magnificent natural beauty. There are lots of places of interest within driving distance, both to the east, west and south.
The old city is full of restaurants and tavernas, housed in renovated houses, sometimes in the open air. There are also plenty of bars and nightspots. Nightlife in Chania is very intense with most places staying open throughout the night. Usually a night out for most locals starts with dinner, continues with a visit to bars and discos and ends with coffee and sweets in the early morning.
Chania is built on the site of the ancient city of Kydonia. This site was inhabited from Neolithic times and through all phases of the Minoan Period. Kydonia developed into a very important centre of the Minoan civilization and it was famous for its pottery workshops. During the Roman period Kydonia was an important city that was destroyed in 828 AD by the Saracene pirates. During the Byzantine period Chania ceased to be an important city.
The Public Market is an impressive building, in the town centre, built at the beginning of the present century (1911) and houses grocery stores, butchers' shops, a fish market and vegetable shops.
The Public Gardens, next to the Market, are ideal for those in search of shade and tranquillity. Northeast of the gardens is the area of Chalepa where the residences of Prince George and Eleftherios Venizelos were.
At the entrance to the harbour, at its northeast point, is the renovated fort Firkas, built in 1629 which today houses the Maritime Museum of Chania as well as a summer theatre, where drama performances are enacted.
Opposite the Firkas fort, is the magnificent Venetian Lighthouse, built in the 16th century.