The history of Chania is clearly represented by the religious monuments of the city which show the Byzantine, Venetian and Muslim past of Chania. Dozens of churches, smaller or bigger, with different architectural styles, await the visitors who want to see the living history not only of Chania but of whole Crete.
Do not forget to enter each monument wherever possible so that you can admire rare artworks and paintings that many of them host .
This imposing Islamic mosque, which dates back to the second half of the 17th century, in the Venetian port of Chania is one the most impressive sights of the old city. The name means mosque of the bay and it is also known as Mosque of Kioutsouk Hassan. It is the first mosque that was built in Crete while it is characterized by its large dome which is supported by four stone arches. From the original building, the minaret was demolished in the early 20th century. Today Giali Tzamisi hosts events and exhibitions.
St. Francis of Franciscans
St. Francis of Franciscans is the largest Venetian church of the city and today it hosts the Archaeological Museum of Chania. The date of the construction is unknown although it is believed to be a work of the 16th century. During the Ottoman rule, the monastery was converted to Yusuf Pasha Tzamisi, while at the beginning of the 20th century it housed the “Ideon Andron” cinema.
St. Catherine (Agia Aikaterini)
In Splantzia of Chania we find the Byzantine church of Agia Aikaterini (St. Catherine) which was built in the 16th century with a late Gothic architecture. During the Ottoman era the temple, which is located next to the mosque Chounkiar Tzamisi, was firstly turned into a bakery and then into a workshop. It is worth noting that the Christians of the city kept on honoring St. Catherine in this place as the Turks allowed one hagiography of Her to stay in the area.
St. Rocco (Agios Rokkos)
Built in 17th century, it is believed that the church of St. Rocco was constructed after the plague that struck Chania, as St. Rocco is the patron saint of the Catholics against the epidemic. The temple is open to visitors, while on the façade under the cornice there is the Latin inscription “DEO O (PTIMO) M. (AXIMO) ET D (IVO) .ROCCO DICATVM. M.D.CXXX. “, Meaning” To The Most Excellent and Most High God and to St. Rocco 1630 “. During the Turkish Occupation in Chania, the church was used as a military prison.
Panagia of Renier
A small chapel built into the Venetian family mansion of Renier, constructed in 1608. It is small in size and vaulted. Inside, one can admire frescoes from the time it was built, while to reach the chapel, one has to cross the impressive Gate of the Renier Mansion, which is also preserved in a very good condition. Today the chapel is used as a space for art exhibitions and other cultural events.