top of page

Halepa: deep in our hearts

If you want to get deep into the heart of this city's personality and uniqueness,

you must wander around the streets of Halepa, the wealthy, historical neighborhood of Chania

which once used to be the aristocratic suburb and political center of Crete

History and Atmosphere

Halepa, which in the Cretan dialect means stony slope, has been mentioned as a settlement since the middle of the 19th century. The oldest houses were built in the area that is now opposite the central church of Evangelistria and on the steep rocky coast where the Tanneries were established during the brief period of Egyptian rule.
Due to its climate and natural environment, the area quickly developed into an important suburb of the city, where some of the consuls, rich merchants and exporters as well as prominent Turks and Egyptians lived. From the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, when Crete became an independent state, Halepa was the political center of Crete as some of the most important events in the island's history took place here. Here were the consulates of the major Western countries, the headquarters of the international troops that were supposed to guarantee peace  among cretans and turks (a forerunner of today's UN with the same success!), international clubs, the palace of the high commissioner and the home of the most important Greek politician, revolutionary and prime minister of the 20th century, Eleftheriou Venizelos. The tanneries and these houses that are spread over the whole of Halepa, they constitute an important architectural heritage.

By staying at the Garden of Zephyrus - Halepa, you have the privilege of spending your vacation right in the center of this area and you can still feel the glamor and charm of this historical period walking its streets.  Everywhere you walk you will find yourself surrounded by sights. Most of these buildings are still there, many renovated, some others can hardly be distinguished between the vegetation and the old walls.

Walk to Evangelistria, the largest church in the area in Fakothiana, the first neighborhood created in Halepa. From here, go down to Tabakaria to tour the old Tanneries and enjoy a unique view of the sea that laps the rocks and the ground floors of the buildings up to the port of Agia Kyriaki. The smell of tanned leather is still present. In between, dive in the surrounded by rocks and deep sea, natural pool of Kouloura where many generations of Halepians learned to swim! 

Walk through Meidani (the Turkish quarter) to the church of Agios Nikolaos, passing through the "dark arch", a small tunnel that goes under the old mansions.

At a distance of a few minutes from the accommodation you can visit the House of Eleftherios Venizelos which has been converted into a Museum. and the site of the old barracks where today the state-of-the-art Archaeological Museum of Chania has been built. The Blum house located across the street currently houses the El Venizelos Institute of Studies and next to it is the Catholic Church of the Nativity, while on the other side of the square is the beautiful garden and the unique Russian-style church of Agia Magdalene, inaugurated in 1903 by Queen Olga of Greece for the sake of the Russian prince. Walking around to the Archaeological Museum you will see more of the houses that are all designed by European and Greek architects in a neoclassical style. Walking from the house of El. Venizelou towards the city center, you will see the French School of Saint Joseph (1852) and the Greek Consulate and you will admire from the outside many more stately houses that have been renovated and operate today as expensive hotels.

The 20-minute (on foot) route "Chania - Halepa" via the coastal road that ends in the old town, is still one of the most beautiful walks and is often mentioned as an idiomatic expression when we want to say of someone that he travels so often a long distance that has made it seem smaller!

Metamorfosi church.jpg
bottom of page