The most important Greek politician, Eleftherios Venizelos, lived in his paternal house, in the suburb Chalepa in Chania, for more than thirty years, from 1880 to 1910, and occasionally, from 1927 to 1935. He was particularly attached to this house. It is the house where he spent his youth, he got married and had his two children, and where his wife died. He was staying in this house when the Revolution of 1897 broke out and when he left for Therisso, in 1905; he returned to this house before moving to Thessaloniki in order to participate in the movement of National Defense, in 1916, and he left from the same house after another movement failure, in 1935. He lived there for almost half of his life and this house established his strong bonds with his homeland and his family.
In 2002, the Greek State bought the residence and ceded it to the National Research Foundation “Eleftherios K. Venizelos”. After the scientific and administrative services of the Foundation were transferred to the former Vloom Mansion, in 2005, the Venizelos residence remained the Foundation's headquarters and it has been converted into a Museum, a commemoration site for Eleftherios Venizelos. The residence bears the imprint of Eleftherios Venizelos and the building has maintained its original form, of the years he lived there. The furniture of the decade 1925-1935 was selected by Venizelos himself and his wife Elena, and was brought from Athens and abroad. Decorative objects and paintings of the period, original photographs and personal items of significant value decorate the interior of the residence.
In 1876, Eleftherios Venizelos' father, Kiriakos, bought the building plot in the centre of Chalepa, a historical suburb of Chania. During the Cretan State, the residence of Crete's High Commissioner, Prince George, and the Embassies of the Great Powers as well as the residences of the bourgeois were located in Chalepa. The construction of the residence started in 1877 and was completed in 1880, when Kiriakos Venizelos moved in with his family and stayed there until 1883, year of his death. When Eleftherios Venizelos was designated Prime Minister and left for Athens, in 1910, the house was rented to relatives, foreign diplomats and Cretan politicians. The residence in Chalepa took its present form in 1927, when Eleftherios Venizelos returned to Chania and undertook its renovation. The renovation study was assigned to the architect Stavridis, and Venizelos personally supervised the works. During the next years, until the beginning of the Second World War, the sons of Eleftherios Venizelos lived in the residence. In 1941, during the Battle of Crete, the house was bombarded. The Germans restored it and used it as their headquarters and as a residence of the German Governors of the Cretan Fortress (Festung Kreta). During the occupation the house was seriously damaged and vandalised. One room of the ground floor, used by the Germans as an entertainment room, has murals of funny figures. After the liberation, Sophocles Venizelos undertook the first restoration mainly of the building's exterior, and after his death, Marika Venizelou, the wife of Eleftherios Venizelos' son, Kiriakos, supervised the repairs of the interior of the residence. Nikitas Venizelos, grandson of Eleftherios, inherited the residence of Halepa.
The museum exhibition has 18 visitable stations with authentic exhibits, presumptions of great historical value and rich supervisory material. Six rooms are maintained exactly as they were handed over to the National Foundation "Eleftherios K. Venizelos" by the Venizelos family and to a large extent as it was when he lived here (entrance corridor, living room, political office, dining room, personal office and Venizelos bedroom) . The smokehouse, which was destroyed during World War II, was rebuilt based on a 1927 plan and houses rare editions from Eleftherios Venizelos' personal library. The ground floor service room remains in the form (with murals) given to it during the German Occupation. In the corridors of the floors there is supervisory material for the Venizelos family, the house of Halepa and the other houses, where the great politician lived, while a room on the first floor is dedicated to Elena Venizelou. In five rooms on the first floor and the attic-patio, the action of Venizelos is presented, divided into the thematic "The Revolutionary", "The Politician", "The Diplomat", "The Man", "The Myth". Finally, the assassination attempts against Venizelos in 1920 and 1933 are presented in two rooms.
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