Alexander Phoundoulakis spent a fair number of years growing up in the United States, and returned to Crete with his family a few years ago. The connection he felt to the island that caused him to return also compelled him to learn more about the history of Crete and Hania in particular. This lead to his learning about, and getting involved with, Etz Hayyim Synagogue. The result of which has meant trading a world of business meetings and offices for a medieval courtyard and garden.

1. Maxairadika, Sifaka St.

This was the area where the knives, both ceremonial and functional, were made. The area was conveniently located perpendicular to the street where the butchers were found, prior to the construction of the covered market.

2. Kastello, end of Ag. Markou

The small hill overlooking the old harbour has been the vantage point of choice for those that controlled Hania. From the Minoans to the Ottomans, they all had their headquarters here.

3. Minoon St. Red light district

Hania’s red light district is but a shadow of what it once was. Confined to a small walled area off of Minoon St. In the past it occupied the entire North end of Minoon St. and was interspersed with signs reading “Caution Family Lives Here!”

4. The moat behind Alpha bank, Halidon St.

This space is now mostly occupied by parked cars and a couple of trendy clubs, still offers an interesting if not quite menacing vantage point of the Venetian fortifications.

5. The playground by Sabionera, Defkaliona and Efpinidou Sts.

Next to the opening that was the Sabionera, or The Sandy Gate in English, and made up the Eastern Entrance to the city is located a small children’s playground. The rusty swings and slides almost look like they date back to the time when the emblem of the winged lion of Venice which stands above them was new!

6. Megalo Arsenali, Akti Tombazi

Until recently the “Megalo Arsenali”, or grand arsenal (hall) looked like it had fallen victim to one of the bombs it used to house. Now restored as the Center for Mediterranean Architecture its arched windows offer a commanding view of the harbor.