Koum Kapi, Chania
Koum Kapi: An especial corner of Chania city
Koum Kapi is one of the quarters of Chania city with the richest history. It is also one of the most picturesque parts of the city, as it lies between the Old City of Chania and the Halepa quarter.
Koum Kapi is the quarter just outside the eastern part of the old walls of Chania city. It is located on a coastal part of the city, with a beautiful beach.
The quarter of Koum Kapi took its name after the Turkish word “Kum Kapisi”, which means Sand Gate. The Sand Gate, or the “Sabionera”, as its original Venetian name was, was indeed a big gate of the old walls of Chania city, which led to a beautiful sandy beach.
Koum Kapi – one of the prettiest quarters of Chania city
If you take a stroll in Koum Kapi, you will be pleasantly surprised: The view to the beach and the eastern coast of Chania city is excellent, and there are many quality cafes and taverns.
Koum Kapi is generally the choice of the young people of Chania city, but during the summer months you can find people of every age and nationality having a good time here. The locals are usually visiting the quarter for an evening coffee or for their first drink early in the night.
If you walk south from the beach and into the areas where the locals live, you will find some modern buildings, but also some older ones – some of the oldest in Chania city. This has to do with the noteworthy history of the Koum Kapi quarter.
Koum Kapi – a quarter with a history as unique as its location
During the Ottoman period, when Koum Kapi quarter took its present name, the quarter was totally different than the present, beautiful and clean Koum Kapi.
In the middle of the 19th century, in the area of Koum Kapi lied a village, the only residents of which were poor Bedouins from North Africa, who had been moved here by the Ottomans in order to help with the heavy works in the harbour of Chania.
There were no real houses at Koum Kapi at that time, only tents and huts, most of which were made from tin. The place was nothing more than a present-day “favela”.
After 1913, when the reunion of Crete with Greece took place, and during the massive population exchanges between Greece and the former Ottoman empire, the Bedouin residents of Koum Kapi returned to North Africa.
From the beginning of the 20th century, great efforts were made from the Cretan people and the Greek government to improve the living conditions and the sanitation in Koum Kapi. In 1924, many Greek refugees from Asia Minor came to reside here. The quarter was gradually improving decade after decade, until it finally became the beautiful and renowned Koum Kapi quarter of today.
Koum Kapi quarter is one of the prettiest corners of Chania city, offering great sea view and many cafes and taverns where you can rest or chat. As it is also very close to the Old City of Chania, Koum Kapi is one of the most interesting parts of Chania city, well worth a visit.