Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Chania – Crete, Greece

The ‘Egyptian’ lighthouse is one of the oldest lighthouses in the world – dating back to the Venetians in the 16th century.

The Island of Crete was home to the Minoans – one of the oldest civilizations in Europe. Following on from the Minoan’s – Chania, the port that dominates the western part of the island, has been ruled by the Greeks, Byzantines, Arabs, Venetians, Ottomans, Egyptians and the Germans. Today it is part of Greece.

The harbour is referred to as a ‘Venetian Port’ because it was the Venetians who heavily fortified and developed the port throughout the middle ages.

From a tourist perspective old Chania offers a beautiful fortified harbour and walled town. The inner harbour is now lined with restaurants that were affordable, friendly, and soaked in the ambiance that Chania’s rich history gives it. I recommend staying in the old town and taking your time to explore and enjoy this unique place.

Aside from seeing the sites of old town Chania, we used it as a base to explore the Second World War battlefields to the west and south of the town where in 1941 the British forces and the local Cretans attempted unsuccessfully to repel the German airborne invasion. For New Zealanders, the battle for Crete in 1941 is one of the defining episodes in our history and the war cemeteries are testament to the lives lost from many nations in the defence of Crete.

The view of Chania Harbour from the lighthouse. The clouds are obscuring the snow capped mountains in the background.
The view back to the main Chania harbour from the fort on the fortified seawall.
Chania Harbour at night

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