Thursday, June 9, 2016

Greece | Crete | Chania

From Venice I flew to Athens and then wandered on down to the island of Crete. As most of you know, Crete was once part of the Byzantine Empire. Following the Sack of Constantinople in 1204 by Crusaders and Venetians led by Enrico Dandolo the island became part of La Serenissima, the Serene Republic of Venice. It remained part of La Serenissima until 1669 when the Ottoman Turks took over. In 1908, when the Ottoman Empire was on the ropes, indigenous Cretans decided to became part of Greece. The city of Chania on the island has an Old Town dating largely to the Venetian Era and I was of course eager to see it. (Chania, as I was informed several times during my first hour in town, is pronounced xan-Ye.
Crete, the island at the bottom of the map, is 175 miles south of Athens. Chania is at the northwest corner of the island (map courtesy of nationsonline).
Port of Chania (click on image for enlargements)
Downtown Chania
My hotel in the old Venetian quarter of town. The original building was built by Venetians in the 13th century. 
The day I arrived it was overcast and the horizon was not visible. The second morning the skies cleared and I was somewhat startled to see formidable snow-covered mountains to the south of the city. For a moment I thought I was in Anchorage, Alaska, and was staring at the Chugach Mountains. The temperature at sea level was in the high seventies and low eighties. 
Typical street in the old Venetian Quarter
Part of the formidable Venetian walls which once surrounded the city
Surfs up! Lighthouse at the entrance to the harbour.
The promenade along the harbour

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