Crete : Towns & Villages
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North West Crete
Hania (or Chania GR: Χανιά) is the capital of the Prefecture of the same name and the second biggest town in Crete, with a population of 60.000 inhabitants. It lies (Coordinates 35°31' N 24°1' E ) along the North coast of the island, about 55 km west of Rethymnon and 140 km west of Iraklion (Heraklion). Hania's old town (although it was heavily bombed by Germans in World War II) is considered as Crete's most beautiful urban district, especially the Venetian harbour with its 16th century lighthouse and the Mosque of the Janissaries ("Giali Tzamissi", built 17th century). Many of the old buildings have been restored as hotels, restaurants, shops and bars, making the old town a lively and colourful place, especially during the tourist period.
The village of Mournies is a principal village, located 3.8 km south of Hania at 40m a.s.l. It took the name "Mournies" from the numerous mulberry trees, that use to be here even today. At the beginning of the 17th century, Mournies was famous for its beautiful villas, belonging to local noblemen. One of them, located southeast of the village, was the imposing three storey villa of "Koukounara". It had beautiful flowery gardens, fountains, statues ..., a real paradise, where many famous persons were received hospitality, amongst them the glorious Mme Ortans, the empress Eugene of Napoleon the third, queen Olga of Greece, and the king Constantinos in 1913. The villa today, being restored, houses a department of the Geek Navy.
Mournies was the birth place of one of the greatest statesman of the new Hellenic Republic, Eleftherios Venizelos. Venizelos' influence on the history of Greece was paramount, from his participation to the talks with the Ottomans that resulted to granting Crete independence in 1897, to the final union of Crete with Greece in 1913. The house of Venizelos located in Mournies is going to be a museum, and many personal items of the politician are going to be on display there.
Thérisso (GR: Θέρισο) is a small village, built on the foot of the White mountains, at 580 m a.s.l, 20km south of the city of Hania. It has 156 inhabitants and it is famous for its physical beauty, its diary-farming and its glorious past.
You can reach Therisso from Perivolia passing through the Canyon (good asphalt road), or from Drakona, crossing the 7km dirt road through the forest.
From here starts the trekking path which leads to the highest peak of the White mountains, Pahnes (2452m)
Due to its location Therisso played a significant role at the history of the island especially during the 19th Century. A mill's stone located at the entrance of the village reminds the death of a young woman (grinded alive), when she denied to surrender to Mustafa Pasha.
Here were born the great Cretan revolutionaries (Hainis), Vassilis, Giannis and Stefanos Halis. Vassilis Halis, became a hainis very young, and participated to the most great battles against the Turks in Crete and Peloponnissos. He was lt General when he died at Nafplion (Peloponnissos) in 1846.
But Therisso is mostly known for its relation with the Venizelos movement in March 1905. Venizelos, who dissented with prince George' policy and declared the Union of Crete with Greece, had his headquarters at Therisso. The house of Venizelos is today a museum.
The visitor to Therisso will admire the natural beauty, learn a lot of the history of the place listening to various stories and looking at the historical monuments, and taste the local specialties at the lovely taverns of the village.
2,5 km north of Therisso, at the left bank of Kladissos river, there is a cave where signs of neolithic and Minoan habitation were discovered. It is believed that it was a worship place.
On the old road from Hania to Kissamos, 14km away from Hania is the coastal settlement of Kato Gerani which extends from the Platanias bridge to the village Pirgos Psilonerou. Awarded every year with the Blue Flag, the beach is organized and provide quite a lot facilities such as sun beds, umbrellas, shower, W.C. and sea sports. It is worth to take a small walk to the villages of the area, and enjoy the unspoiled Cretan nature and hospitality. Pano Gerani, Modi, Loutraki, Manoliopoulo are all within a distance no longer than 10 kilometrs.
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