Chania is an ideal alternative to Iraklion for accessing and exploring the island of Crete. The city is not as busy as Iraklion and has direct access to the other major cities via the highway on the north side of the island.
The modern city of Chania stands on the site of ancient "Kydonia". According to legend, King Minos' grandson, Kydon, founded the city. No spectacular Minoan palaces, such as at Knossos, remain. Excavations in the Kastelli area of the city have uncovered Neolithic pottery, signs of Bronze Age settlements and Minoan tombs. Kydonia was an important city-state in the Late Minoan and Post Minoan Period and dominated the western region of the island.
Kydonia prospered during the Classical Greek and Roman periods. This prosperity continued into the Byzantine period but as the empire suffered so did its outposts. In the thirteenth century the Genoese, traditional enemies of the Venetians, gained the support of the local population and seized the city.
The Firkas Bastion, Chania
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. The island has an elongated shape, 260 km long from east to west and between 15 and 60 km wide. The coastline is over 1000 km long and consists of both sandy beaches and rocky shores. Crete has about 600.000 inhabitants, of which over a third live in the towns of Iraklion, Hania and Rethymnon.
It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while it retains its own local cultural traits (such as its own music and dialect). Heraklion is the largest city and capital of Crete. Crete was the center of the Minoan civilization (circa 2700–1420 BCE), the first advanced civilization in Europe.
The Venetian Arsenali
The history of Crete is at least 9.000 years old, as there has been evidence of human activity on the island since then. During this long route, we have not only intense historical accounts but also large time space.
The island is very mountainous. Deep gorges split its huge mountains (Lefka, Ori, Psiloritis, Dikti) leading to fertile valleys, creating a landscape full of surprises and which changes minute by minute, bare and wild, green and peaceful. More than 3,000 large and small caves, several of them with impressive stalactites and stalagmites, are of special interest and honeycomb the mountains. Untrodden rocky coasts, vast sandy beaches and pebble shores define the seaside. Dry-stone farm buildings, villages perching on high plateaus, monasteries, isolated castles and chapels dot the countryside. Villages drowning in green, olive green, vine green, citrus green and vegetable green, add living colour to the sometimes harsh views, in which life's traditional Cretan rhythms have not changed in centuries: coffee under the shade of old trees, traditional dances, sousta and pentozali to the sound of the Cretan lyre and the sweetness of Cretan wine. Old cities hide behind walls, their complicated narrow alleys winding past squares, churches and the ruins of palaces. The main city ports like that at the port town of Hania, built on top of ancient Kydonia, picturesque Rethimno, Iraklio, cosmopolitan Agios Nikolaos and beautiful Sitia grew up on the north side of the island and only Ierapetra is on the shores of the Libyan sea, facing Africa. They are cities living the fast pace of modern life, developing day by day. Shops selling folk art, textiles, pottery, leather goods and department stores with luxury items spring up like mushrooms. Greengrocers bring the rich produce of the fertile valleys and greenhouses to the market places.
Knossos, Festos, Malia, Zakros, Aptera, Lato, Driros, Gortys, Arkadi: names which played an important role in the history of the island from Neolithic to modern times as Cretans have been obliged to fight for their survival and freedom for over 2,000 years. Many nations, Romans, Arabs, Venetians, Turks and Germans have invaded and occupied Crete in the course of its history. All of the above compose the multidimensional image of Crete, on whose soil flourished one of the most important civilisations, the Minoan, and was the birthplace of such important artists and writers as El Greco, Damaskinos, Kazantzakis and many others.
Related links about Chania:
- About the Conference
- Submission Instructions
- Important Dates
- 1 of 2
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