Knife Makers existed in Heraklion since Venetian times and began flourishing in Chania as well during the Turkish occupancy. The first craftsmen were Turkish, but Cretan artisan soon began specializing in creating exquisite pieces. Both in Heraklion and Chania the areas where these craftsmen gathered where named Bitsaksidika from the word "bitsak" a type of middle eastern knife.

Knife makers in Chania settled next to the byzantine wall in a small trench that used to separate Kasteli from the rest of the city and had been preserved during the Turkish occupation.

Honorable knives decorated the waist of brave young men ready to be used in an hour of need. The knives had many names depending on their shape, size and type.

Slowly the engraved decoration on the blade of the knife gave way to a design of Crete and is some cases the initials or the name of the crafter and a small folk poem (mantinada) inspired by the maker or requested by the person purchasing the knife.

During the many years of battle the Cretan knives accomplished their purpose and now in times of peace serve as valuable gifts of friendship and appreciation.

The reputation of the Cretan knife has passed the borders of the island and has not only reached the rest of Greece but also distance countries. However, despite the increased demand traditional knife makers have started to fade and the seven furnaces that once burned in the Mitsaksidika are now cold.

Knife making has too entered the industrial era and mass production. Thankfully there are still few craftsmen that have kept this art alive in their hearts and still craft genuine Cretan knives with the traditional techniques.
Even though in many cases the Cretan knife was become a beloved souvenir of visitors' carefree vacations is still remains a holy and honored object in the hearts of the locals.

More About Rea Hotel

Rea Resort Hotel in
Chania, Crete, Greece

Stavros, Akrotiri, Chania
Tel:  +30 28210 39001-4
Fax: +30 28210 97504

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