June 6th, 2014
Chania is the second largest city in Crete and was its capital until 1971. Chania has been inhabited for over 5,000 years, and was the site of the ancient Minoan settlement of the Greeks called Kydonia. We could have chosen an all day shore excursion to tour a Minoan Palace, but decided not to take a guided tour, but rather, explore Chania on our own.
The Star Pride docked just outside of the Old Town Harbor, and we took a small boat tender in. With a map in hand, we set out to explore Chania.
Most of the town’s (and tourist) activity centers around this very pretty water front. Indeed, this harbor was used as the set for “Zorba the Greek”
Crete had, over the years, come under Byzantine, Venetian, and later Ottoman rule, and all left their mark on Chania. The Old Town area is a wonderful mixture of Venetian-Turkish architecture.
This is the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary. The construction of this church was completed in 1860.
Beautiful! I find that visiting churches when we travel gives a sense of the ‘universality’ of religion. note – almost all of the Christian churches in Greece are Orthodox, not Catholic.
I was taking the picture of this statue of a patriarch, just outside of the church square. Then I really had to smile when I noticed the ‘authentic Chinese food’ restaurant behind it! : )
One of the major attractions in Chania is the Municipal Market, an enclosed cross-shaped market building which was built in 1913 and serves as the ‘heart’ of the city.
There was stall after stall of fresh produce and goods……
And fresh fish and chicken? There were several cats hanging out just under that table of fish (I did not get their picture). I think that if the owners turned their back, even for a second, the cats would be on the table scarfing down a tasty fish!
The Market was a wonderful symphony for the senses……but I was a bit frustrated. So many wonderful things to buy and cook and enjoy! If we had been in the camper, we would have loaded up on breads and cheeses, wines, olives and olive oil, Cretan honey, fruits and vegetables. But heading back to a cruise ship, and knowing that we would not be home for several weeks, and then flying home with the airline regulations….well we just had to enjoy looking and not buying. : (
Walking on around town……
So many beautiful vignettes!
And some areas….not so pretty……
Chania had been heavily bombed in WWII, and the people just built around the bombed out buildings, rather than dozing and cleaning up the rubble.
We stopped in at a small church building….nothing in it except several signs (none in English) and this bulletin board with these old pictures.
I don’t know the story at all……but their faces were haunting.
Our walk-about took us back around to the Old Town Harbor and the Venetian arsenal buildings (those pointed roofed buildings on the left), constructed in the 16th century when Chania was under Venetian rule.
We walked on around the harbor……enjoying the picturesque setting.
Finally walking all the way out on this lighthouse wall, and sitting down for a bit to just take in the sights.