Halepa, Chania City

Halepa: A select, aristocratic quarter of Chania city

is a select quarter of Chania city. Featuring beautiful old mansions, many of them in the neoclassical architectural style, it is considered the most “aristocratic” quarter of Chania city.

Halepa quarter is the part of Chania city with the most interesting recent history. Inside some of these splendid old houses and buildings, important political decisions were made. Decisions that shaped the history of Crete and Southeaster Europe in general.

Halepa history – if only the walls could talk

The visitor in Halepa can hardly imagine the central role this particular quarter played in the politics of the 19th and the 20th century.

In the end of the 19th century this quarter used to be a town – Halepa town – outside the old Chania city, which was surrounded by walls. Halepa was the place where the wealthy people of Chania, especially merchants, used to stay with their families, because of its healthy climate and its wonderful view to Chania city and Northwest Crete.

At that time, Chania was the capital of Crete. In Halepa used to be the consulates of many European countries, including the great powers of the time, making it a truly international quarter, the “European neighbourhood” as it was called.

In 1878, in Halepa was signed the historical “Treaty of Halepa”, which granted autonomy to Crete island from the Ottoman Empire. The treaty was signed between the Ottoman Empire and several European countries. According to the treaty, Chania city continued to serve as the capital of the autonomous state of Crete.

In Halepa quarter used to be the House of Eleftherios Venizelos, which is now a national monument. Eleftherios Venizelos was the prominent Greek politician during the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, which was a very crucial period for Crete and Southeaster Europe in general. He was born and raised in this particular house in Halepa.

Eleftherios Venizelos served as the first prime minister of the autonomous state of Crete, and later, after the reunion of Crete with Greece, as the prime minister of Greece for many years.

Strolling through the roads and alleys of Halepa

In modern day Halepa, many new buildings have been built in the area, and the old buildings and mansions, with their gardens full of flowers, which are standing in good condition, are few. But the quarter is certainly worth a visit.

Apart from the House of Eleftherios Venizelos, in Halepa we find the Palace of Prince George. It is worth noting that in 1906, during the Therisso revolt, which was organized by Eleftherios Venizelos and other prominent politicians of Crete, Prince George, who at the time served as High Comissioner of Crete, due to his great unpopularity between the locals, fled the island in the night, by a boat at the coast at Tabakaria.

Tabakaria is the coastal part of Halepa. From the middle of the 19th century, big leather processing companies were located at the coast of Tabakaria. Now, the remnants of these big buildings are still there to see. Today, the Tabakaria neighbourhood is in the process of improvement. In Tabakaria you can find a couple of excellent fish taverns.

Other notable buildings of Halepa quarter are the old Greek Embassy, the old French Academy, now serving as the Cretan School of Architecture, and of course, the very picturesque, Russian-styled church of Agia Magdalini, which just cannot be unnoticed.

Halepa quarter is a select neighbourhood of Chania city, with a rich history that left its mark in all its neighbourhoods. When visiting Chania city, try to find some time to walk around the picturesque buildings of Halepa, admire the excellent view, and feel the authentic atmosphere of past centuries.


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