Port of Souda
Port of Souda: One of the most known ports in the Mediterranean
The port of Souda is located about 7 kilometres east of Chania city. It is one of the biggest ports in Greece.
The port of Souda lies into Souda Bay, which is formed between the Akrotiri Peninsula and mainland North Crete. Souda Bay is one of the most protected bays in the Mediterranean Sea, as it is about 15 km long and only 2 to 4 km wide.
Through the centuries, the port of Souda, due to its strategic importance, was always an object of desire for every civilization that set foot on Crete. Today, near the port of Souda and into Souda Bay, there are also two military ports, one of the Greek Navy and one of the NATO naval forces. Near the port of Souda also lays the World War II cemetery for the allied forces, which is the last resting place for about 1.500 of the 2.000 British soldiers who were killed in the violent Battle of Crete.
The port of Souda and the town of Souda
The port of Souda lies on the edge of Souda town. Souda town was first built and inhabited in the late 19th century on what used to be salt beds and marshland.
After the construction of the port of Souda, the town of Souda grew and prospered. During the Ottoman occupation it was called “Tuzla”, after the Turkish name for salt beds.
Today, the town of Souda has a population of about 8.000 people. It is literally a suburb of the nearby Chania city.
The port of Souda through history
During the Venetian occupation of Crete, the port of Souda was one of the prominent ports of the Venetians in the Mediterranean Sea. It was also a strategic target for the Ottomans, in their attempt to occupy Crete. The first wave of hostilities in the area took place in the middle of the 16th century by the pirate Hayreddin Barbarossa.
After many battles around Souda Bay, during a period of more than a century, in the middle of the 17th century the Ottomans managed to occupy Chania city, the port of Souda, and later the whole island of Crete. However, the Venetians managed to maintain for many decades their fortress and naval base in the islet of Souda, which is inside Souda Bay. During the Ottoman period, the entire Souda Bay transformed into a big military port.
After the independence of Crete, the port of Souda was used as a naval base for the fleets of the big naval powers. Finally, in 1913, when Crete reunited with the rest of Greece, the port of Souda became one of the prominent bases of the Greek fleet. For some years during World War II, the German occupying army used the port of Souda as a naval base.
The port of Souda is one of the most picturesque ports in the Mediterranean. Lying between the scenic peninsulas of Akrotiri and Apokoronas, its natural surroundings never fail to impress the visitors. Due to its position, the port of Souda is also one of the most strategically important ports in the Mediterranean Sea.