2. HANIA - Paleochora (see Map
Paleochora has long ceased to be the quiet fisherman village
it once was. The reason for its tourist development is the gorgeous
sandy beach with the crystal-clear water at the west side of
the peninsula where the town is built. Another nice beach (but
with large pebbles) lies east of the town, while many smaller
and quieter beaches are found in small coves on either side
In 1282 the Venetians built a fort on the tip of the peninsula,
which they named Castel Selino (the Celery Fort), possibly because
of the large quantities of celery, a wild plant that grew everywhere
in the area! The idea was to use the fort to impose their dominion
over this rebellious area. As it turned out, the fort was very
vulnerable, not only because it was poorly designed from the
start, but also because it was cut off from the main centres
of Venetian authority and from all supply stations.
As a result, even a group of... amateurs could assault it successfully,
and the fort was conquered, destroyed and rebuilt several times
in its history. Its last occupants, the Turks, finally decided
that it was futile to try to preserve it and they left it to
its fate. The irony, though, is that the fort is much more effective
now in protecting the area than it was when it was first built!
Since 1940, a time still untainted by excessive tourist development,
the entire peninsula on which it is built has been declared
a historical site, so the building frenzy and exploitation of
the area stopped right outside the city walls. Although mercilessly
besieged, the fort holds stubbornly!
Today Paleochora has many small hotels and many pubs, taverns
and restaurants catering to the needs of the tourists, but it
still has that special feeling of an out of the way place about
it. After 5:00 p.m.
the narrow alleys of the town close for all vehicles, and they
turn into pedestrian streets that are often filled with the
tables of taverns or with playing children. At night these same
streets are filled with music from the pubs and people having
In the morning, the action shifts toward the beaches, but
there is plenty of room for everyone. If you are looking for
a more quiet spot, though, there is a very good beach east of
Paleochora. Go past the camping ground and after a couple of
kilometres park your motorcycle somewhere and walk for another
ten minutes till the end of the cape.
|Source of the
information on this page : “Unexplored Crete”,
Road Editions. For more guidebooks and maps of
Greece, click here.