Chania Old Venetian Harbour and its lighthouse are the most popular sites to see in Chania.
Built by the Venetians between 1320 and 1356, the harbour was once one of the biggest commercial points of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Also serving the Venetian military ships, it protected the sea of Crete from pirates.
On the northside of the harbour are the ruins of an old fortress where there remains a tiny chapel of St Nicholas. It was here that the Venetians and Turks condemned prisoners.
Alongside this the larger ‘Firka Fortress’ built opposite the lighthouse was also used to protect the island from intruders. This fortress is now a museum.
On the inside of the old harbour, are the 7 remaining arsenali, also built by the Venetians between 1461 and 1599. There were originally 17 of these ‘dry-docks’ built for ship construction and repairs.
Many of these were destroyed by the German bombings in 1941.
The lighthouse is the most distinctive feature of the harbour. Originally built by the Venetians, it was later restored by the Egyptians between 1830 – 1840 and is now one of the most photographed spots in Crete!