Lazaretta Island – Chania
Theodorou Island (Kri-Kri-Island)
Theodorou Island (also known as Kri-Kri Island) is a small inhabited island, of about 697 acres, which is home to a number of the protected Kri-Kri (wild goats) of Crete.
It was decided in 1930 to make the Island a National Park and in 1935 a greek man by the name of ‘Theodoros Viglis’ caught one male and one female kri-kri from the famous Samaria Gorge. They were released onto Theodorou Island to begin breeding. There are now hundreds of protected Kri-Kri living on the Island.
The Island is closed to the public and only opened one day a year (8th June) where people are allowed onto the Island to celebrate.
At the West of Theodorou are the ruins of a small castle. This is one of two fortresses that were built in 1583 by the Venetians only to be destroyed in 1645 when the Turks invaded.
There are many tales regarding the creation of Theodorou and its smaller sister island – Glaronisi. The most popular being that in early Christian times the island did not exist at all. One day, residents saw a huge monster and its baby approaching Chania with its mouth wide open ready to attack. After many prayers, Saints petrified this monster creating the island.
Theodorou also offers the famous and very popular snorkeling spot of the wreck of a WW2 German aircraft. This Junker 52 was shot down during World War II and has remained there since.
Lazaretta is an Island located approximately 1200 metres from the beach of Nea Hora. It is a small Island measuring only 200 x 70 metres.
Lazaretta holds a long history associated with Chania starting in 1952 when the Island was used as a place of quarantine for leprosy victims.
In the 17th Century a quarantine building was put together on the Island but in 1645, when the Turks invaded, Lazaretta was destroyed and used as a base for cannons used in an attack against Chania City.
Today, a small part of this building measuring 25 metres long and 7 metres wide, is still visible.
On the Island is a small white chapel in honour of St Nicholas. St Nicholas is known as the patron of sailors, protecting everybody at sea.
In the 1950’s Lazaretta was used as a starting point for swimming races which ended in Chania Harbour in front of the Port Authorities.
Today Lazaretta is enjoyed by swimmers, a few small fishing boats and of course boat trips. It is known as one of Chania’s best snorkelling spots.
Old Venetian Harbour
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!