Byzantine Wall of Chania


Byzantine Wall of Chania
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This fortress was originally built by the Byzantines on the acropolis of ancient Cydonia, on a hill next to the present medieval City of Chania. This point is still the highest in the region, as you look at the right when walking to the Venetian harbor.

The plan of this fortress has not survived. The Venetians, after conquering Crete, settled in Kastelli, fortified and adapted this to their needs. Small settlements developed rapidly around the fort, called bourgs.

The fort was connected to the town with three gates. The eastern gate, ruins of which still exist today, led to the neighborhoods of Chiones and Splantzia. The west gate was demolished in 1928 and the third gate led to the down town.

The Venetians created many building on the fortress, most of which are masterpieces of medieval architecture. One of these was the new Cathedral of Chania, Santa Maria, the Palace of the prefect (retour), the houses of rulers, etc. Gerola (1900s) mentioned that he saw many buildings of Gothic and Renaissance architecture and imposing entrances, which were the palaces of the Venetian nobles (such as Tzagarolo, Premarino and Damolino families). The impressive Palazzo of Angelo Premarino, built in 1598, is particularly mentioned.

The main road, today's Canevaro street, crossed Kastelli from west to east. The Turks used the fort in the same way, i.e. for establishing the lords of the city. Thus, Kastelli housed the palace of Pasha, the Beys’ houses and the public services of Chania. Kastelli was their shelter, during the numerous Cretan revolutions. Today the remains of the fort have almost disappered.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Chania Prefecture
  • Accessibility: Paved road

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