PhotoThe Archaeological Museum of Hania was established in 1963 and is housed in the venetian monastery of Agios Fragiscos. Here, one can see finds brought to light by excavations in western Crete, such as domestic utensils, statues, pots, icons, seals, jewels, mosaic floors, etc. dating back in the Neo-Lithic, Early Minoan, Middle-Minoan, Post-Minoan and Roman Period.


PhotoThe convent of Chrissoskalitissa is located 72 km south-west of Hania, built on a steep rock, with a terrific view of the sea below. To enter the convent, one must climb 90 steps one of which - as legend claims - is golden (chrisso), but it is visible only to those who have never committed a sin. Yet, there are other legends regarding the name of the convent. It is said that monks hid the monastery's gold in a step so as to protect it from the Turks, that Catherine donated a golden step to the convent, or that the monastery was named after the golden carved icon of Virgin Mary, which is at least 1,000 years old. The date of its construction is not known. What is known is, that in 1897, after expanding an old church structure, built in a cave, the convent's altar was built and dedicated to the Holy Trinity and to the Assumption of the Virgin.


PhotoThe islet of Elafonissi is situated 77 km south-west of Hania, opposite the monastery of Chrissoskalitissa. One can get there on foot, as the sea between it and the land of Crete is shallow, 100 m. wide and 800 m. long. The islet's beautiful beaches attract many tourists in the summer. A marble sign reminds visitors that in April 24th 1824 on Easter Day, Hebraem' s Turkish army massacred 600 Cretan fighters, women and children.


PhotoFort Firkas is in the Topanas neighbourhood in Hania, where the wealthy Christian families lived, during the Turkish Occupation. Firkas (military unit) was built in 1629 and is considered a significant historic monument for Crete. In February 16th 1897, the flag of the Great Powers was raised here, pronouncing Crete's autonomy. At the same place, 16 years later, on December 1st 1913, Eleftherios Venizelos witnessed the island's union with the rest of Greece. Today, the fort houses the city's Naval Museum and a small, summer theatre. Before Firkas lies the Venetian port and the wonderful beacon which was built in the 16th century by the Venetians and restored in 1830-40 by the Egyptians.


PhotoThe Venetian castle "Fragokastello" stands 88 km south-east of Hania, in an area of unique natural beauty. It was built in 1371 by the Venetians for the protection of their property from the pirates and the poor, local farmers. Some say, its name derives from the local phrase "Kastelli Fragon" (The Castle of the Franks), while, others claim, it derives from the Italian phrase "Castel Franco" (Brave Castle). The castle's exterior is very impressive with the rectangular shape and the four towers, one at every corner. At the main entrance, one can see the carved lion of St Marcus, symbol of Venice, as well as the coats-of-arms of the Quirini and Dolfin families. Within a small distance from Fragokastello, there are ruins of the Byzantine churches of Agios Nikitas and Agios Haralambos. Fragokastello is associated with an unexplainable phenomenon that takes place in late May - early June, early in the morning. The shadows of men, dressed in black appear from the chapel of Agios Haralambos and move toward the castle. Legend says they are the famous "Drossoulites," soldiers of the army of Dalianis who was defeated by the Turks, in this area, in May 17th 1828 and who still comes back to bravely confront the enemy. According to science, this is only a mirage phenomenon.


PhotoLefka Ori, alias "Madares", constitute the main mountainous area in western Crete and consist of 57 peaks, more than 2,000 m. tall. They are considered as part of the Dinarotauric Arrow, which begins at the Dinaric Alpes. The mountains owe their name to the fact that the slopes are white, covered with snow until late spring. Among the peaks, the most known are Pachnes (2,453 m.), Agio Pnevma (2,254 m.), Venizelos or Mavri (2,069 m.), Kakovoli (2,214 m.), Zaranokefala (2,140 m.), Thodoris (2,370 m.), Kastro (2,218 m.), Modaki (2,244 m.) and Trocharis (2,401 m.). The southern slopes of Lefka Ori form the infamous gorges of Samaria and Imbros, where the few remaining wild goats live. The area is known for its rich flora, as here one finds the famous Cretan ebony and wild cypress-trees. One can climb Lefka Ori from Omalos Plateau, the village of Kambi and the town of Anopoli.


PhotoThe monastery Jagarolon is located 15 km east of Hania, near the village of Koumares. It was built in 1612 by the monks Laurentius and Jeremiah, members of the Venetian orthodox family Jagarolon, after which the monastery was named. The beautiful bell-tower was built in 1864. During the Revolution in 1821, the place was burned down by the Turks, and was renovated years later by the monks Calliopios and Gregorios, from Akrotiri. Today, the monastery includes a library, a collection of icons and codes, and it houses the Seminary of Crete.


PhotoThe monastery of Gouverneto is just 4 km north of the monastery of Agia Triada, 19 km east of Hania. It is dedicated to the Presentation of Virgin Mary or, as it is known widely, to the Lady of Angels. Is was during the Venetian Rule, in 1548 and its altar was decorated with venetian sculptures. Although the monastery was destroyed by the Turks during the Greek War of Independence, in 1821, it was restored and today it belongs to the monastery of Agia Triada.


PhotoThe Naval Museum of Crete is situated at Hania and housed in Fort Firkas. Here are exhibited models of boats from the ancient years until today, icons and heirlooms from the glorious naval history of Crete.


PhotoOmalos plateau is situated 39 km south of Hania, on an altitude of 1,050 m. surrounded by tall peaks. Its diameter is 4 km and on its centre stands the village of Omalos. One can get to Omalos plateau from the villages of Laki, Agia Roumeli and Agia Irini. Its invincible location rendered the plateau - during the Turkish Occupation - a refuge for the persecuted fighters and has served as a refuge to all fights of the Cretan people, ever since. In the past, the area had cultivation of cereals and potatoes. Today, the locals occupy themselves with stock-breeding and farming. Omalos is also known for the hill of Agios Pandeleimon, the house and grave of fighter Hatzimichalis Giannaris - who helped the Cretan fight for liberty in 1866, 1878, 1897 and 1912 - and the cave of Tzanis which is the deepest in Greece (280 m. deep).


PhotoThe green plateau of Askifou is situated 50 km south-east of Hania. It is surrounded by the peaks of Kastro (2,218 m.), Tripoli (1,493 m.) and Agathes (1,511 m.), all part of Lefka Ori. The fertile fields are cultivated with potatoes, cereals, vineyards and fruit-trees. Here, one can also visit the village of Askifou. According to tradition, "Askifou" derives from the ancient Greek word "skifos" (cup), a name suitable for the area. In August 1821, at the pass of Laggos, the Turkish army of Sheriff Pasha was defeated by the Cretans.


PhotoSamaria gorge is Crete's most visited sight-seeing and one of the most beautiful parts of Europe, as voted by the European Council in 1980. It is the Continent's biggest gorge, 18 km long, while its width varies from 150 m. to 3 m., the most narrow crossing being "Portes". According to archaeologists, inside the gorge stood the ancient city of Keno and Tara, where Tareos Apollo was worshipped. During the Cretan struggle for liberty, many persecuted fighters sought refuge here. One can enter the gorge following the narrow path of Xiloskalo (1,227 m.), while walking is 14 km and 6-8 hours long. To travel through it, weather has to be good and the gorge open, which only happens between the months of May and October. Due to the rich flora and fauna, the area was pronounced "National Forest", in 1962. Here lives the famous wild goat of Crete, called "Kri-Kri", as well as rare kinds of birds, while on the ground grow wildflowers and rare kinds of herbs. There is running water everywhere and sunlight comes and goes, creating beautiful colourings. In the gorge stand the deserted villages of Agia Roumeli and Samaria, as well as the picturesque chapel of Agios Nikolaos, built in an area full of cypress-trees. The area has been named after the church of Osia Maria Egyptian or Sia Maria, found in the village of Samaria and dating back to 1379. For the protection of the National Forest of Samaria, there are strict rules prohibiting - among others - hunting, over- night stay, camp-fire, littering, smoking or picking flowers.


PhotoThe graves of the Venizelos family are situated on the hill of Prophetis Elias, 5 km outside the city of Hania. There, in an area with magnificent views of the city, Eleftherios Venizelos was buried in 1936. In 1964, his son, Sofocles, was also buried here. In 1897, Cretan fighters raised the flag of the revolution on this spot and demanded the union of Crete to the rest of Greece. The combination of the monument and the beautiful view to Hania, fascinates the visitors.