When visiting Chania for the first time one is astonished by the number of buildings and monuments that history and its rich culture have left their markings on. The old town, on and around the hill of Kasteli built on the ruins of Minoan Kidonia, is surrounded by a partially Byzantine, partially Venetian wall.
The Minoan civilization left behind grand tombs, interesting ceramics and objects of various periods. The cohabitation during the Venetian and Turkish occupation of people of different ethnicities, culture and religion (Orthodox and Catholic Christians, Jews and Muslims) etched strong markings and attributed to many interesting creations.
In the area of Topanas the visitor can see Venetian manors, among the narrow cobble stone alleys, with elaborate decorations and Turkish homes. This is where the Firka fort, the nautical museum and the church of San Salvatore (15-17th century A.D.)that houses the early Byzantine and byzantine collection of Chania, are.
In the old Jewish quarters, Ovraiki, is a synagogue and on Chalidon street is the folklore museum (Cretan home) and the church of Saint Francis. The church houses the city's archeological museum that holds treasures from the Minoan and Hellenistic period.
The Metropolitan church of the Presentation of the Virgin (Esodia) with its exquisite frescoes is across the street and the old Turkish baths are next to it.
The mosque of Kioutsouk Hasan (1945) is in the Fountain area, around the square with the same name and across from the dock with the Venetian lighthouse. A short distance from there are the 7 of the 17 dockyards (14th-16th century A.D.). The Grand Arsenal stands out, that is presently used as a convention and exhibition center.
Sections of the Rector's palace and courtyard still stand on the hill of Kasteli and on one of the inscription above the doorway reminds us of the existence of Venetian archives. Close by is the archeological site of ancient Kidonia and ruins of the church of Santa Maria Mirakoli (1615).
On the street of "Stivanadika" where the eastern influences are still very apparent you can see the building of "Chrysostomou" and the Municipal Library. In Splantzia, the old Turkish quarters, the square of the former monastery of Saint Nicholas (1204) with is steeple and minaret, is the small renaissance church of San Rokko (1630). Close by is the church of Saint Anargyroi (16th century) with its invaluable frescoes and the church of Saint Catherine.
Outside the walls, east of the old town, we can see Koum Kapi where the Bedouins built a village during the last years of the Turkish occupancy. In the district of Halepa you can visit the palace of Prince George, the house of Eleftherios Venizelos, the French School (1860), the church of Saint Magdalene (1903) and the church of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary.
From the newer structures: The manor "Villa Koundourou" – an art workshop and a multifunctional center for youth, the municipal park (1870) with its clock, the Market (1913) – a cross shaped building with hundreds of small stores, the Park of Peace and Friendship, the Courthouse and Prefectural building complexes, The Venizelos Conservatory, the historical archives, the War Museum and the Chemistry museum stand out.
The city of Chania, the islands first capital, preserved the historic legacy of so many centuries. Its atmosphere attracted many scientists, philosophers, poets and artists of different origins and thus became a cultural center.