General Info About Chania

The city of Chania

The most poetic city of Crete when you walk through it leaves you with a pleasant taste of beauty.

Built on the ruins of ancient Kidonia it has seen and survived many invaders, but has also tasted civilizations that left their marks on building faces, castles, walls, antiquities, monasteries and churches.

The city has two entrances: the airport of Akrotiri, and the port of Souda (the largest in the Mediterranean).

The public market holds a master place in the center of the city, a brilliant cross-shaped building that was completed in 1913, and in proportion with the one in Marseilles.

Near the city center the Public  Garden awaits you next to the Peace and Friendship of the people park.

The gardens are the prettiest in Crete, and also the public garden offers a small zoo with animals from Cretan fauna.

The Venetian port picturesque any time and season is attractive to visitors and locals, for it\'s beauty and for it\'s choices of entertainment for all tastes and demands.

The old city intramural districts preserve their Venetian nobility. Narrow paved alleys are surrounded with tasteful renewed houses, from various ages, are offered for a pleasant walk.

Many neoclassic houses are also saved in districts which neighbor with the city of Chania, like Halepa.

The Origin of the City\'s Name Scholars have been trying for years to analyse the etymology of the name Hania and to decide on the time when the name was changed from Kythonia to Hania.

The new name is first met as Cania in the document Sexteriorum Cretensiu in Militias divisio in 1211.

Then the name Canea" is mentioned in the document which relinquishes the Hania area to the Venicians in 1252.

As for the change of the name from Kythonia to Hania, the most convincing point of view is that of Prof. N. Platonas, who associates it with the existence of a big village Alhania, named after the God Valhanos (Vulcan).

The Sarasin Arabs found this name easier to use but confused it with their own word Al Hanim; (the Inn).

After the departure of the Arabs, the syllable, probably taken to be the Arab article (the), was dropped when the name was translated into the Greek Hania and the Latin Canea Historical Data Historically and Archaelogically, the hill of Kasteli is one of the most significant parts of the city, as it has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

The factors which contributed to the uninterrupted use of Kasteli as a residential area were its geographic position and the fertile plain on the south, both of which contributed to making the district an important commercial and transport junction.

Excavations have brought to light remains dating from the first Minoan period (2800-2000 B.C.).

The houses of that period are large with well constructed rooms.

The walls and floors are painted with a bright red colour.

The Kasteli area was also inhabited in the Post-Minoan period (1580/1550 - 1100 B.C.).

According to the evidence offered by the clay tablets in Linear A scripture found on the hill, the area was reserved for royal use.

Between 1380 and 1100 B.C. it developed into a commercial centre which was in constant communication with the rest of Crete and Greece.

A historically significant ceramics workshop, known as the Kythonia Workshop has also been found in the Hania area.

It now belongs to the post-royal period. During the so called Historical Years, Kythonia seems to have been a powerful city-state, whose domain extended from Hania Bay to the feet of the White Mountains.

Kythonia was constantly at war with other city-states such as Aptera, Falasarna nad Polyrrinia. In 69 B.C. the Roman Consul Cointus Metellus defeated the Cretans and conquered Kythonia to which he granted the privileges of an independent city-state.

Kythonia reserved the right to mint its own coins until the 3rd century A.D. The Roman conquest put an end to the civil wars and a period of peace began, unique in the history of the island. The Kythonia of the Historical Years was of the same size as the city of Hania at the beginning of the 20th century.

Tradition The Cretan folk tradition which is marked mainly in weaves, tsevredes, carpets, blankets etc. and expresses the feel of beauty and artistic mood of the people of Chania. Simple village women, but also organized associations, produce weaves from silk or wool. Handicrafts from glass, wood and metal, along with pottery, woodwork and metalwork workshops. Particular is also the art of producing boots stivania at Skridlof road in Chania where the smell of processed leather is dominant.

Also Cretan knifes are characteristic with the witty four-lined poems.

Cretan Cuisine In Crete the earth and its crops have been concurrent with mythology and the ancient gods.

The purity of the products, their rich in vitamins content, and their spectacular taste, have been and are for the lovers of healthy food, the subject of study for the scientific community, while their beneficial qualities for the avoidance of heart disease has been proven.

The geologic conditions, the cultivating care, and mainly the love for tradition and quality, are the reasons for which the Cretan goods have recognized quality.

Flora and Fauna The earth\'s topology and the climate make the area of Chania a paradise for thousands of plants and animals.

The sea lilies, labdanum, cyclamens, the Cretan tulips, the box elder and mainly the unique dittany, and mountain teas, that are therapeutic boiling plants, are abundant. In the Omalos plateau, one can find stamnagathi.

In all of Crete we encounter 17 endemic plants from which the 4 are found only in the Chania province.

The proud Cretan wild goat kri-kri, is found free only in the Samaria Gorge.

There, as well as in other places one can see the Cretan eagles and partridges.

The county of Chania covers the western part of Crete and has an area of 2.376 km2 and with a population of 140,000 residents (1991 inventory).

The county is divided into 5 provinces with the capital the city of Chania (52.000 population).

Since 1999 the county is divided into 23 counties and 2 provinces.

The north area of the county with very welcome seas ends up to 3 peninsulas.

Concerning the south side of the island towards the Libyan sea it presents the biggest amount of sunlight in Europe.

North, west and south the county is surrounded by sea.