Port Town in Crete
on the western north coast of locator Crete is the capital of the governmental district of the same name, and after Iraklion the island's second biggest city. The port town in the eastern part of the bay of Chania counts some 54,000 inhabitants and gives home to several museums, as well as to the Technical University of Crete.
Excavations show that the area is inhabited since about 3,400 B.C. In ancient times, the town was named Kydonia. After the Venetians took Crete including the town of Kydonia over, it's name was changed into "La Canea" which is the origin of the today's name. During that era, Chania was Crete's most important port for trading with Venice and the rest of the world.
The large harbour basin and the lighthouse which is the town's landmark also come from the Venetian epoch. Today they serve mostly for decoration purposes as the ferry boats from Piraeus use the much larger port of Souda 6 kms east on the other side of the Akrotiri peninsula.
Chania International Airport (CHQ) is also on that peninsula. It is being served by several car rental agencies, such as Eurocars. They deliver your rental car without any extra airport charge, and dropping it off there is free as well.
The town's restaurants, tavernas, bars and discotheques concentrate around the old harbour basin. The fishing port and marina lies east of the lighthouse behind a long sheltering pier. West of the old harbour basin there is the Venetian old town which today includes many small hotels and tavernas.
Balconies which were fixed subsequently, and the minaret by the church of Aghios Nicolaos remind to the Turkish occupation. The market hall building was completed in 1913 south of the fishing port. It's floor plan has the shape of a cross as it is a smaller copy of the market hall of Marseille. The daily buzzle inside is not less colourful and noisy than in the one in South France.
The bigger hotels of the area are located on the beaches of the bay of Chania west of the city. They line up along Kato Daratsos, Kato Stalos, Agia Marina, Platanias, Gerani, Maleme, Tavronitis and the 20 kms distant village of Kolymbari.
More hotels are on the beaches of the west coast of Akrotiri peninsula, e.g. at Kalatas, Horafakia and Stavros (13 kms north-west of the city). During the last years, numerous holiday villas have been built in this area as well.
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