The historical tour of Hania

Hania dates back to Minoan times. It has seen the passage of many peoples from the time of the occupation of the Crete Island by the Mycenaeans and Dorian Greeks between 1400 and 1200 BC, to the period of rule by the Ottoman Empire (until the end of the 19th century). The Old City, encircled partially still by the Byzantine and Venetian walls, is a maze of narrow streets and surprises. Look carefully and here you will find traces of Romans, Andalusian Arabs and Ottomans alongside the contemporary tourist.

Below you will find a series of maps, each with a series of landmarks selected by the project organisers.

Choose Your tour

One of the ‘hidden treasures’ of the Old City is the Etz-Hayyim Synagogue, located in what was once the old Jewish Quarter. Etz Hayyim is the only surviving Jewish monument on the Island of Crete after the destruction of the Jewish community in 1944. From 1996 until the year of its re-dedication in 1999 the structure has been painstakingly restored and is open to visitors. This was one of the locations for the workshops with young people.

Some historical background can be found on the web site of the Synagogue here:

Participant Commentary
Before I came to Hania I did not have any specific idea about the city or its history. Even though it is generally know that Hania has a rich history and heritage experiencing this fascinating city, its layout, its architecture and specifically its impressive walls makes one aware of the real historical dimension. Contemporary Hania is full of the remnants of cultures and political systems of the different epochs. These remnants should encourage an interest and a critical review of the past and cannot be overlooked if one wants to understand the city’s present.

Etz Hayyim Synagogue Hania invited me to participate in the Open Lab “My Hania”. Together with Anja Zückmantel, Etz Hayyim’s librarian, I founded in 2006 “kontext, Association for Conflict Studies and Civic Education” in Germany. The association aims at supporting intercultural understanding and encouraging critical thinking. These aims can be reached by scientific research on the one hand but not less through workshops and seminars such as “My Hania” which encourage young people to approach their own history critically.

Salah Kanaan, Jurist, Germany