Hania also called Chania is one of the nicest towns in Crete, with wonderful houses, parks and squares and a well designed town-plan.
==== HANIA – SIGHTSEEING
The Public Market is an impressive building, in the town center, built at the beginning of the present century (1911) and houses grocery stores, butchers’ shops, a fish market and vegetable shops. The Public Gardens, next to the Market, are ideal for those in search of shade and tranquillity. Northeast of the gardens is the beautiful neighborhood of Chalepa.
The old city has preserved to a great extent the distinctive atmosphere and charm of the Venetian and Turkish periods. Entire Venetian, Turkish and Jewish quarters are saved, with well preserved buildings in the narrow picturesque streets. One of the most significant buildings is the large Venetian church of Aghios Frankiskos which today houses the Archaeological Museum of Hania.
The old city leads at the harbor, where many Venetian and Turkish buildings are preserved. At the entrance of the harbor, at its northerst point, is the renovated fort Firkas, built on 1629, that today houses the Maritime Museum of Hania as well as a summer theatre, where drama performances are presented. Opposite the Firkas fort, is the magnificent Venetian lighthouse, built on the 16 century and restored by the Egyptians. The harbor is protected by a Venetian breakwater, built of huge stones. At the center of the breakwater are the ruins of a fortress.
Hania can be the starting point for a tour to the western Crete, a part of the island with magnificent natural beauty. There are lots of places worth seeing , within driving distance (two to three hours) , the most famous being the Samaria Gorge. This is a National Park of Greece that starts at the village of Omalos, at an altitude of 1227 m. and ends after a walk of approximately 18 Km to the beach of Agia Roumeli. The Gorge is open from May to the beginning of October and is definitely a must for everyone.