Greece travel guide




Chania Travel Guide

The New City of Chania

Once out of the narrow confines of the maritime region, the broad, traffic-choked streets of the modern city have a great deal less to offer. This part of Chania is where most citizens live and work. It is less traditional than the old city, but there are silent zones of pleasant beauty or of some historical interest. The oldest region (early 18th century) of the modern city is Nea Hora (meaning "New City") which is situated beyond the west end of the old city. It is an emerging area, but also a very attractive one, with narrow old lanes leading to a small fishing harbor. During the same era the region of Halepa begun to grow to the east of the city and used to be home for the local nobility. Some of the historical edifices of the area (including old embassies of foreign countries) had been damaged or abandoned during the later decades of the 20th century, and it was only recently when some interest was shown for the renovation of the remaining ones.

Another ancient edifices in the region comprise Eftherios Venizelos s House (erected 1876 1880), the old French school (now property of the Technical University of Crete, housing the Department of Architecture), the Church of Agia Magdalini (erected 1901 1903), The Palace (erected 1882, house of Prince George during the period of the Cretan independence) and The Church of Evangelistria (erected 1908 1923). Zone of the marine area of Halepa is called Tabakaria, where a unique architectural complex of old leather processing houses is located. The region of Koum Kapi (the Venetians had first named it "Sabbionara", which means "the Gate of the Sand", the same as "Koum Kapi") located beyond the walls at the eastern part of the old city, was also one of the first places to be inhabited outside the fortification walls. Initially, it was home for the "Halikoutes", a group of Bedouins from North Africa who had actually settled there since the last years of the Turkish domination. Today it is a growing zone with many fashionable cafes, bars and restaurants on its attractive beach.

Besides the previously mentioned older region of the modern part of the city, more than a few new residential areas have been developed during the 20th century, like Agios Ioannis, Koumbes, Lentariana etc. Some part -but not the biggest- of the city centre is dominated by colourless medium-height block edifices, typical of the urbanization period of Greece (1950 1970). However, there are still some beautiful neoclassical houses especially at the eastern part of Chania and some of the neighborhoods nearby the centre are quite charming. The plan of the central area is very good, there are some nice parks and several sports grounds, the most essential being the Venizeleio Stadium of Chania and the Swimming Pool at Nea Hora. The 1913 indoor market ("Agora"), a large structure based on the market of Marseille, is on the edge of the old city and is famous with tourists and citizens alike. Some other main places of the newer urban area are the The Court House ("Dikastiria", erected late 19th century), The Public Gardens ("Kipos", created 1870), The Garden Clock-Tower ("Roloi", erected 1924 1927), The Episcopal Residence (Bishop's residence, "Despotiko", erected early 19th century) and the House of Manousos Koundouros (erected 1909), the Cultural Centre ("Pnevmatiko Kentro"). The central largest squares in Chania are the Market Square ("Agora"), the Court House Square ("Dikastiria") and the "1866 Square".

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The City of Chania

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