Chania lighthouse is a landmark that has captured the hearts and minds of visitors for over four centuries. Standing tall at the entrance of the Old Venetian Harbor in the charming town of Chania, the lighthouse has witnessed the city’s rich history and cultural heritage. From the days of the Venetian rule to the present time, the lighthouse serves as a popular tourist destination and a symbol of the town’s identity. In other words, it is a true landmark of the city, and it continues to be an important part of the city’s culture and identity.
If you have never visited it, then it is about time! Read the article below and find out more information.
Picture by: Eduardo Teixeira
The history of Chania’s Lighthouse in the old harbor has a strong connection with the city’s rich and colorful past. In fact, it dates back to the early 16th century when the Venetians ruled Crete. They recognized the importance of the harbor as a strategic location for trade and defense. Thus, they constructed a fortified wall around it to protect it from attacks. The wall also featured two towers, one of which served as a lighthouse to guide ships safely into the harbor.
Furthermore, due to the threat of Turkish forces, the Venetians started fortifying all towns around the island. During that time, the Turks started making interventions at the port of Chania. These events led to the construction of the Saint Nicolas bastion as well as the Firkas fortress. A chain would connect the fortress of Firkas with the lighthouse in order to close the harbor. In this way, the Cretans were able to protect the harbor’s entrance successfully.
Over time, the lighthouse underwent several renovations and upgrades given that new technologies were developed. The harbor’s importance continued to grow immensely and brought many changes to the island’s financial status.
However, during the Ottoman occupation in 1824, the tower was destroyed and a new lighthouse was constructed in its place. Later on, the Egyptians rebuilt it during their brief occupation of the island in the early 19th century. The Egyptians also used the lighthouse as a fortress, and they installed a clock on the top of the tower, which can still be seen today. The lighthouse was also equipped with a revolving light, which was powered by oil lamps, and had a range of 7 nautical miles.
Chania Lighthouse – the Most Recognizable Monument of the City
In the 20th century, the lighthouse has many restorations. During the World War II, it suffered extensive damage, as it was used as a target by German planes.
Today, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Chania, and it is a symbol of the city’s rich and diverse history. The beautiful landmark attracts thousands of visitors from day to night, especially on summer. By the time you reach the old harbor, it stands imposingly at the opposite site at the edge of a long mole. A walk to the lighthouse is probably one of the most romantic things you can to during your stay in Chania. You will have the chance to admire the beauty of the harbor from the other side, while walking lengthwise you will enjoy some fantastic views. Do not forget to take your camera with you as the scenery is simply magnificent. As one of the most romantic spots of the city, there are many couples enjoying their walk during sunset.
When to Visit
There is no best time to visit Chania’s Old Town; It is just wonderful anytime of the year! It is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in experiencing the rich culture, history, and natural beauty of Crete. The captivating brick-colored buildings since the Venetian times will leave you speechless while walking through the small alleys will get you back in time. Feast your eyes on the architecture of the 16th century and find out more about the history and the past of Crete.
So, the best time to visit depends strongly on your interests and preferences. If you enjoy sunbathing, swimming, and taking part in water activities, then the summer season is the best time to visit. Moreover, during summer you will find numerous of tavernas and cafeterias with a breathtaking view to the Chania lighthouse and the sea. As the night falls, the harbor remains busy with thousands of visitors taking their walk. However, Chania is magical during Christmas, too! The decorations are making it even more beautiful with millions of Christmas lights decorate in every single boat. Their glimmer reflects in the dark waters and charm everyone who visit it! Regardless of when you visit, Chania’s old harbor is sure to impress and leave you with unforgettable memories.
Picture by: Juvenal Makoszay
What to in Chania’s Old Town
Chania Old Town, also known as Venetian Harbor, is one of the most iconic and picturesque areas of Chania. Here are some of the top things you can do:
Explore the harbor on foot
The best way to experience the Venetian Harbor is by taking a stroll along the water’s edge. The harbor is full of narrow streets, alleys, and beautiful old buildings that make it an ideal place to wander around and take in the sights. There are also plenty of cafes, restaurants, and souvenir shops, so you can stop for a coffee or a bite to eat while you explore.
Visit the Maritime Museum
The Maritime Museum of Crete is located in the Venetian Harbor and is a fascinating place to visit. The museum is housed in a 17th-century Venetian building and has a collection of artifacts, models, and exhibits that showcase the history of Crete’s maritime heritage. There are also plenty of interactive displays that are great for kids.
Relax at a waterfront café
One of the best things about the Venetian Harbor is the selection of cafes and restaurants that line the water’s edge. There are plenty of places to relax and enjoy your time while taking in the beautiful views. Some of the cafes have outdoor seating areas that are perfect for people watching and soaking up the atmosphere. Read this article to find out Chania’s best restaurants.
Αre you ready to experience unforgettable holidays? Chania is enthralling from the very first moment you set your foot in the city. It is a blend of modern and ancient cultures and every building or alleyway has a story to tell. But one of them will leave you speechless. Chania lighthouse, the guard of the Venetian harbor, will remain indelible to your memories. Whether you like learning about history, or just want to soak up the atmosphere, the harbor has something for everyone. So, make sure to add it to your itinerary when you visit Crete.