HISTORICAL OVERVIEW

HISTORICAL OVERVIEW

OF THE CITY OF CHANIA

Historical Monuments

Historical monuments > Historical Monuments

Monastery of Saint Nicholas of the Dominicans

The great monastery of the Order of Dominican monks in Chania was built around 1320 by the brotherhood of Candia, which requested in a document the import of unseasoned timber for this purpose.

Architecturally it follows the model of the Central Monastery of St. Peter. The Monastery, as we know it from depictions on old maps, photographs and descriptions, consists of the church with the high spire and double portico on the north side. From the complex today, the catholic church and a part of the western portico on its northern side (Chatzi Roussou Vourdoumba Street) survive altered.

The temple was a basilica with a transept, which ended in a tripartite step without an arch. The central part of the sanctuary and the solaea is housed by large cross vaults with sharp ribs and the lateral compartments of the sanctuary by pointed arches. The rest of the temple was timber-framed with a gable roof. On the west wall of the southern part of the transept there is a later confessional in the form of a manier doorway. Externally, the temple is supported by high buttresses built into the masonry. The north-western compartment of the sanctuary, which today is covered with a cross vault, is the rest of the base of the high spire. In this part of the temple, research work was carried out by the Archaeological Service, which revealed interesting information about its original form. From the middle of the transept an arched opening, which was formed later with the addition of a doorway in second use, led to the gallery with the cells. Today the enclosed courtyard and the north side of the two-storey portico are preserved. The ground floor consists partly of a covered portico, which is covered by cross vaults and has rooms on the first floor. In the centre of the courtyard there was a small tank.

During the years of the Turkish occupation, the temple was transformed into Hugiar Jamisi, which was the central mosque of the city. Its importance is emphasized by the existence of two instead of one exostas (serifes) in the minaret, which was built in the southwest corner of the temple. The morphological elements of the minaret are interesting, because they follow the Venetian tradition.

In the square in front of the mosque, an underground fountain was built in the 18th century for the necessary ritual rites. In 1918 the Orthodox of Chania occupied the church and established it in honour of Saint Nicholas. Then a large semicylindrical arch was added on the eastern side. In the 1950s an unfortunate attempt to restore the church led to the replacement of the wooden roof with a new concrete structure and the division of the interior with concrete colonnades.

Monastery of St. Francis of Franciscans

The complex is located on today’s Halidon Street and houses the city’s Archaeological Museum. It is preserved for the most part altered by modern interventions.

On the south side was the double portico (chiostro) with the monks’ cells and the other buildings. Today the portico is for the most part integrated into the houses and shops that exist up to the entrance of the newest Catholic church.

On the north side of the church of Saint Francis, the existence of a beautiful garden, similar to the one that exists today from the time of its function as a mosque, is noted on the maps of the time. The recent restoration work on the interior of the temple revealed the various building phases, some of which are also connected with the urban development of the city.

The original part of the temple is clearly visible in the middle of the present one and was originally covered with a kind of vaulted roof, which was reinforced by odd ribs (vergia). In the next phase, the roof was reconstructed into a pointed arch and its interior was divided into naves. The sides were roofed with a half pointed arch. The sides were roofed with a half pointed arch.

In 1605, according to the date on the key of the lateral arch, the eastern extension of the church should be placed, which is certainly connected with the creation of Ruga Magistra (Halidon Street) during the urban reconstruction works of the city, after construction of the new fortifications. Another extension should have been carried out, probably during the years of the Turkish occupation, with a single-room construction to the west.

The tower base of the high bell tower is preserved on the east side of the monument. During the years of the Turkish occupation, the church of Saint Francis was converted into Yusuf Pasha Jamisi. Then they ruined minaret and the octagonal fountain in the courtyard were added to the northwest side. Στη συνέχεια μετατράπηκε σε κινηματογράφο και κέντρο διασκέδασης.

Τhe Monastery of St. John the Theologian

The restored Byzantine Monastery of St. John the Theologian is located next to the tanks of the ancient Roman city of Aptera. It is already mentioned in chronicles of 1181 A.C. as a dependency of the Monastery of Patmos, while during the Venetian and Ottoman domination maintained a prominent position in the economic affairs of the place, due to its possession of vast areas included in Apokoronas field. After the Second World War, its vast property was expropriated in favor of the inhabitants of the surrounding villages and in 1964 it was deserted.

Byzantine Church of the Dormition of the Virgin in Agia

Is an early Christian basilica from the 5th century A.C in Agia, Kydonia, which functioned as the cathedral of the Diocese of Kydonia and Apokoronos during the second Byzantine period. It was reconstructed during the 10th-11th century and is today an important religious monument on program of designation by the Archaeological Service.

The Byzantine fortress in Kastello of Agia Kyriaki

In Kastelli hill, in Varypetro there are the remains of a fortified citadel with buildings of Hellenistic and Roman periods. In this hill after 961 the Byzantines build a new fortress, from which today survives only a part of the wall and the tank. The area was harmoniously linked with a newer building; an Orthodox monastic complex built near the fortress.

Chapel of Virgin Mary of Renier

The Chapel of Virgin Mary of Renier is a small family chapel, built in the buildings that once constituted Palazzo Renier, in Moschon Street in the old town of Chania. It is a small building of the 16th century with entrance from the north, with traces mural paintings in the interior, associating it with the apartments of the Palace of Renier

The Byzantine Wall

The original fortification of the city of Chania, the one that surrounds the hill of Kastelli, has been founded on the remains of an older fortification from the Hellenistic times. Most of the Byzantine wall was built with second-use construction material from ancient Kydonia. Its outline is irregular and consists of straight sections, interrupted by small rectangular or polygonal towers.

The wall in some places simply complements the natural rock fortress, while from the south and part of the east and west sides, it completely covers the need to protect the city. In the wall there were four gates which have been demolished today. The two main gates were the western one towards Syntrivaniou square and the eastern one at the intersection of Canevaros and Daskalogianni streets. The other two smaller ones were one on the south side, at the junction of Katre and Karaoli-Dimitriou streets, and one on the north, at the height of the turkish prisons towards Afenduliyev street.

Roman Theatre of ancient Aptera

The theater of ancient Aptera is located on the southern wall of the ancient city, near its southeastern entrance. Its current form belongs to the Roman phase and arose after a radical reconstruction of the earlier Hellenistic theater. The pews were repositioned on a brick plinth, while the stage was replaced by a more imposing Roman one.

In later years, a lime kiln was built in the middle of the hollow, which altered the construction of the theater. Its builders had incorporated architectural elements of the theater, while the limestone benches were the raw material for the preparation of lime. The hollow, 54.68 m in diameter, corresponded to 26 rows of seats. Today, 43 pews survive in their place, in stepped mudstone construction, and part of the central staircase. Also, the 13 lowest foundation levels due to newer leveling operations for field cultivation have been exposed. The appearance of the stage is formed by three large niches, which corresponded to three doors, while east and west of the foreground were formed the backstage. Today, maintenance and excavation work has been carried out by the relevant Archaeological Service.

Archaeological area of Kastelli (Kanevaro)

The settlement excavated in the city of Chania, centered on Kasteli hill, is the most important in the prefecture. Large houses with well-built rooms, well-kept floors with circular pits – hearths, walls plastered with deep red mortar, regular doorways and ceramic products of excellent quality indicate that this is a major Proto-Minoan centre.

This settlement is the most important in western Crete.
Its location is ideal, because not only is it adjacent to the sea, but it is also surrounded by the rich plain of Chania, thus meeting all the conditions for the development of both agriculture and fishing and maritime trade. This was confirmed by the extensive excavations that began in 1964 in the square of Saint Aikaterini and continue to this day, always with many difficulties, limited to the few free spaces of the densely populated area.

The hill was continuously inhabited from Proto-Minoan times to the present day, with the result that the excavated layers are very numerous and often very thin in thickness, which creates insurmountable difficulties in their dating and identification, so that the excavations in this area are considered among the most difficult of their kind.

During the following Middle Minoan period (first half of the second millennium BC), the settlement of Chania developed into a dynamic center. It is the period in which the first palatial facilities appear in Crete. While the economy remains agricultural, trade and shipping are developing at the same time. Trading posts are established outside the island and colonies are established. Such a relationship connects Crete with the nearby island of Kythira. The similarity of the pottery from Kasteli and Kastri of Kythira is characteristic. The Chanio ceramic workshop produces products that follow the rhythms of central Crete (dark on light, light on dark, rough rhythm, chamber rhythm), while there is no shortage of ceramics imported from the rest of Crete.

Unfortunately, the Middle Minoan building phases of the Kastelli settlement have been destroyed by the extensive building activity in the immediately following periods and very few remains have survived.
Building remains of both the Proto-Minoan and Middle-Minoan times that have been identified in various places in the current center of the city of Chania (Municipal Market area and further east) perhaps indicate a modular structure of the prehistoric settlement, while its center always remains the hill at the Old Port.