Daliani, Splantzia

Chatzimichali Daliani, Splantzia Square, Church of Agios Nikolaos, Church of Ayias Ekaterinis, Church of Ayii Anargyri

Immediately to the north of the Municipal Market is narrow pedestrianized street in the old Muslim neighborhood of Splantzia.

Today, Chatzimichali Daliani street is home to shoe repairers and shoe-makers, traditional jewelers, seamstresses, clothes designers, a cultural center, bars, cafes, restaurants, as well as several historical sites of interest including the former Monastery Santa Maria della Misericordia, now the Kibar Bar, and an old mosque with its minaret still standing. While this street clearly reflects Chania's now vibrant, lively, multicultural character, from the period of the Ottoman Turkish rule until 1923, the majority of Chania's Cretan Turkish population lived in this area and certainly, no Christian or Jewish citizen would have dared to enter this neighborhood for fear of serious retribution. Don't Miss: Politechnio Cultural Center and Cafe, Nikos Boulakas' traditional hand-made jewelry and knife shop, Kibar Bar in the former Monastery Santa Maria della Misericordia, Mesoghiako restaurant.

Splantzia Square, also called 1821 Square, is the heart of Splantzia with the Greek Orthodox Church of Agios Nikolaos dominating the square on its eastern side and the Church of San Rocco to its northwest. This square derives its name from the year of one of the largest local rebellions against Ottoman Turkish authority in 1821 when the Bishop Melhissedek of Kissamos was taken by an angry mob of Cretan Turks, alongside other clerics, and hanged on the large sycamore tree that still stands in the square's center. There is also a large underground fountain built in the eighteenth century that served the needs of ceremonial washing when the church became a mosque. This underground chamber was used as a bomb shelter during WWII. Don't Miss: Klidi Cafe-Bar, Platanos ouzo and tsipouro tavern.

Near to Agios Nikolaos is the small Greek Orthodox Church of Ayias Ekaterinis built in the second half of the sixteenth century and dedicated to Ayias Ekaterinis (St. Catherine) whom the locals of this Christian neighborhood revered. This two-aisled church with a facade articulated by pillars and dressed cornices, and surmounted by pediments, and with a base of a campanile at the centre, represents an interesting hybrid of Venetian Late Gothic forms and Venetian Mannerism. During the Ottoman Turkish period, the church was used as a bakery, and later as a machine shop. It was recently expropriated by the Greek Archaeological Service, restored and re-converted into a church.

The Greek Orthodox Church of Ayii Anargyri holds particular importance in Chania's history as the only Greek Orthodox church in the entire city that continued to function as a Christian place of worship during the Turkish occupation when all other churches were converted into mosques. The area in which the church is located bares the same name as the church and in fact, for centuries was the focus for the activities of Chania's Christian population including the bishop's residence, schools and charities. This church also served as the cathedral of the bishop of Kydonia who was restored his seat after an absence of about four hundred years. The church dates to the sixteenth century and comprises three rooms built at different times which are connected by a large single aisle. Ayii Anargyri is noted for its interior decoration, most of which dates between 1837 and 1841, as recorded on the gilded wood-carved iconostasis. However, also exhibited are two large icon paintings dating to 1625 and attributed to Ambrosios Emboros, a priest-monk from Chania and the first of a series of painters from west Crete who was strongly influenced by Flemish engraving. Originally housed in the Church of Ayios Ioannis Erimitis, the icons depict the Dormition of the Virgin and the Last Judgment, respectively. They were "dedicated" by local officials, and by local residents to St John the Hermit on whom they rested their hopes of protection against the Turks. A smaller seventeenth century icon portraying Saint Charalambos and signed by "the Hand of Victor", a renowned local painter of the time, is also exhibited.

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