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When you see Chania today, you will find it hard to believe that this pretty little seaside town is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe. Perhaps this is the spot where Zeus brought the maiden Europa after abducting her in the form of a bull. The area has been settled since the Stone Age. The Minoans established the first real city, Cydonia, which Homer also mentioned in his Odyssey. Since those times, numerous peoples and cultures have inhabited and shaped the city – Mycenaeans, Achaeans, Dorians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Venetians and Turks have occupied and helped to build the city.
Modern-day Chania is shaped above all by its port, built by the Venetians. Today the port is a boulevard with cafés and restaurants that have made their home in the old buildings of the Venetians. At the end of the quay wall is an old lighthouse. Visitors can also see several majestic boathouses in which the Venetians' ships were repaired or docked for the winter. Behind the port is the historic quarter of the city with its crooked lanes and old houses, which will give you the feeling of having travelled back in time to the age of Venetian rule. Even the old city walls enclosing the city are still standing.
Come to Chania and be amazed by a replica of a Minoan ship, the Minoa, in the Maritime Museum. Tour the only church in the world with both a bell tower and a minaret – Chania's Agios Nikolaos. The 18-kilometre hike through the famous Samaria ravine will be a welcome challenge to the more active holiday-maker. Beach enthusiasts will have a hard time choosing between the hundreds of large and small beaches and coves dotting the length of the coast. Traditional Cretan cuisine provides a non-stop feast for foodies, and Crete's wine has an excellent reputation amongst connoisseurs worldwide. A day trip to the Minoan palace in Knossos and many other excavations on the island of Crete will round off the holiday perfectly for anyone interested in culture. In short, a trip to Chania (CHQ) is an excellent idea for any type of holiday-maker.