Hania Old Town
Lonely Planet review for Hania Old Town
An exotic mix of Venetian and Ottoman architecture makes Hania Crete's most evocative town. The Venetian lighthouse and former mosque frame the picturesque harbour lined with restored Venetian mansions that house boutique hotels, pensions and restaurants. Remnants of the Venetian city walls border a web of atmospheric streets, where you'll see artisans at work and find the island's most eclectic shopping.
Roofless Venetian mansions house ambient restaurants and elegant bars. The archaeological museum and the naval museum are small but worthwhile museums. The Firkas fortress near the harbour runs off the best-preserved section of the massive fortifications which were built by the Venetians to protect the city from marauding pirates and invading Turks. Under Turkish rule Hania was the seat of the Pasha, while the Great Powers made Hania the capital; Iraklio became capital in 1971. Among the town's impressive buildings are the colourful cruciform market, the synagogue and the great arsenal and shipsheds along the harbour. Hania is on the site of the Minoan settlement of Kydonia, whose ruins are being excavated to the east of the harbour near the Turkish quarter.