History of Crete comes from the depths of centuries. In the crossroad of three continents, since the Neolithic Age till 1912 when it was integrated to Greece, has developed civilizations with visible proofs. From 2600 till 1000 B.C. there was the Minoic civilization. Afterwards, the Geometrical Age, 1000-600 B.C. and from 600 till 69 B.C. Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods and following them the Hellenic-Roman Years till 330 A.D. Later on the island was conquered by the Arabs. During Byzantine period it was under the sovereign of the Venetians till 1669, the Turkish occupation of the island from 1669-1898 A.D. and then the Crete State, 1898-1912 A.D..
HANIA: The prefecture of Hania, in the western part of Crete, is rich in historical memories. It is in a distance of 157 n.m. (11 hours) from Piraeus.
The capital Hania has remarkable historical background as it is shown in the Archaeological Museum. The impressive part of the ancient city maintains its characteristics from the Venetian sovereign period as well as Turkish domination, but you can also see neoclassical architectural characteristics regarding the recent years.
In the country of the prefecture of Hania there are interesting villages as of architectural point of view. In Byzantine period or in the Venetian sovereign period they have been set up most of the settlements of the region and they are saved many monuments as about the 350 churches with wall paintings from 11 till 16th century.
For swimming you can go to the western point of the city and as far as Kolymvari where there are marvellous beaches.
From Hania, taking the road along the coast towards Kasteli you will meet three marvellous regions famous for their luxurian vegetation and the immense sandy beaches that is Pyrgos Psilonerou, Gerani, Maleme. Kasteli, capital of the region Kissamos, is situated in a distance of 36 km. west of Hania and is built in a fruitful plain, in the place of the ancient Kissamos. Together with Polyrrinia and Falassarna were the most important cities of antiquity. Big village of the region is Platanos, 52 km. west of Hania. You will go for swimming to the beach of Kasteli, Nopigeia, Drapania, Vigglia and Falassarna.
In the southwestern end of the prefecture of Hania, in a wonderful landscape, it is located Frangocastelo with its impressive castle near the sea. It is one of the most beautiful buildings of the Venetians maintained in very good condition.
In Frangokastelo you will enjoy swimming in the splendid sandy beaches of the region located the one next to the other considered the best of the island.
A beautiful village built in the inmost part of a bay and in a location with rich vegetation is Kolybari, 23 km. west of Hania. It is worthwhile to visit the Stavropighiaki Monastey of Odighitrias (Kyra Gonias) in the western end of the gulf of Kydonia. The beach of the village is sandy with pebble.
In the northwestern side of Crete they are situated the islets Imeri and Agria Gramvoussa.
In the southwestern seaside of Crete, in the prefecture of Hania, between two picturesque bays it is located Palaeohora. The picturesque country town in Lybian sea has a lot to offfer to the visitor that is: wonderful landscapes, pure natural beauty, marvellous beaches, monuments created by nature and by people themselves. It justifies perfectly the name called after Nymph of Lybian sea and Country of Sun. Probably it is built on the ruins of the ancient Kalamydi. The relatively recent history of Palaeohora is connected with Castel Selino firstly built by the Venetians in 1282. Since then the region is known by its today’s name.
The magnificent castle of Palaeohora was built by the duke of Crete Marino Gradenigo, at about 1279. It was renovated in 1325 and became famous from the revolution of Kallergis in 1332. It was destroyed by Barbarossa in 1359. Additional fortifying works were made in a later period by Turks.
Palaeohora consists the center of 11 villages: Spaniakos, Prodromi, Asfendyles, Kalamos, Azogyres, Platanias, Vassilaki, Aghia Triada, Vlithias, Anydri, Ahladiakes. You get the impression of an island as it is extended in a small peninsula. A few
hundred meters far of the plain there are picturesque hills and beyond them steep mountain-sides in a magnificent landscape.
In the region Selinos they are saved considerable archaelogical places as Kantanos, Elyros - the most important Doric city of the western Crete, Yrtakina-ancient city over the village Platanes, Sya - today’s name Sougia, Lissos with the ruins of Asklipiio, Viennos.
In the Caverns Zoures and Harakas, near the village Azogyres, they led an ascetic life there the 99 Sts. Pateres (Fathers) when coming from Egypt, Cyprus and Attaleia in 1300 via Gavdos. Here you can visit the "Museum of Nature" with the unique evergreen plane-tree. In the wider region there are many interesting places and natural landscapes ideal for one day excursions. From here you can also visit the Ravine of Samaria reaching the Lybian sea, the small ravine of Anydri, the ravine of St. Irini- 7,5 km. long with luxurian vegetation, of Kalogeros and Topolion, the frontier island Gavdos, the region of Elafonissos with the marvellous beaches, Kountoura and many other places.
Among the tops of the White Mountains is situated the picturesque plateau Askyfos, a region famous for its distinguished role during the revolutions against the Turks.