The Old Town of Chania

Chania (also known as Hania, Xania or Venetian Canea) is the second largest city of Crete and the capital of the Chania Prefecture. It lies along the north coast of the island, about 70 km west of Rethymno and 145 km west of Heraklion.

Despite being heavily bombed during World War II, Chania's Old Town is considered the most beautiful urban district on Crete, especially the crumbling Venetian harbour. The borders of the Old Town are the mostly destroyed old Venetian walls and this has been the cradle of all the civilizations which were developed in the area. The central part of the old town is named Kasteli and has been inhabited since Neolithic times. It is located on a small hill right next to the seafront and has always been the ideal place for a settlement due to its secure position, its location next to the harbour and its proximity to the fertile valley in the south. Nowadays it is a bit more quiet than the neighbouring areas of the west part of the district.

The main square of the Old Town is the Eleftherios Venizelos Square. It is the heart of the touristic activities in the area. Next to it lies the Topanas district, which used to be the Christian part of the city during the Turkish occupation. Its name comes from the Venetian ammunition warehouse, which was located there. The Jewish quarter was located at the north-west of the Old Town, behind the harbour and within the borders of Topanas. The whole Topanas area is generally very picturesque, with many narrow alleys and old charming buildings, some of which have been restored as hotels, restaurants, shops and bars. This makes it a lively and colourful place especially during the warm period. In the winter, it still remains a center of activities (especially for nightlife) but in a more quiet and atmospheric way. Finally, another very distinctive area is the harbour itself and generally the seafront. Here, the main street that combines the modern town with the old town is Halidon Str.


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