What to do in the Town of Chania

(apart from what your Tourist Guide probably suggests you...)

Chania Old Town Walks Halidon 46, Chania Town, Crete 73131 +30 6937 399 300

old town

Chania Old Town Walks offers an original way to explore this historically fascinating city through a three hour private walking tour accompanied by a resident archaeologist and historian. The city's past from Minoan times to the Ottoman Turkish period comes alive as we see Chania's Minoan ruins, its elegant Venetian and Turkish townhouses, its beautifully restored synagogue, as well as mosques, churches, narrow, winding alleyways, tree-lined squares and other hidden gems.

Al Hammam Venetian Old Harbor Square 14, Chania Town, Crete 73100 +3028210 59005

In the beautiful town of Chania you can see the armonic co-existence of different traditional architectures Venezian,Arabic,Ottoman. This is the beauty and the uniqueness of this town. One of the most interesting element of this architectural puzzle are the old Ottoman Baths, which you can find in ruins...
The Hammams were brought to Chania by the Ottomans of Asia Minor. As Sherazade, the unforgettable protagonist of "A Thousand and One Nights" said: "A town is incomplete without a Hammam."
Crossing the threshold, you enter a new dimension where old world traditions are infused with modern day services. Unlike Spas that call any steam room a Hammam, Al Hammam is the only authentic Hammam with all natural, organic, and traditional treatments; where beauty, well- being, body care, and relaxation of the mind are experienced in harmony. The Hammam will cleanse your body in a heated, low-mist room atop heated Venetian Marble tables, where an aesthetician exfoliates you and delivers an invigorating, full body Gommage using authentic black Moroccan Olive Oil Soap - your skin will be left feeling soft and supple - a prelude to your Hammam body ceremony.

Roka Carpets Zambeliou 61, +30 28210 74736

Roka Carpets is nested in a venerable Venetian house on Zambeliou Street. Holding court is the handsome Mihalis Manousakis, a master not only of weaving, but of living. He works in the shop- factory on the ground floor and lives above it with his wife Anja and their two children. Roka Carpets is one of Chania's central meeting places, where those in the know assemble to socialise, make new friends, meet old ones, drink coffee, sing a song, play an instrument and watch the magic of Mihalis as he patiently weaves and explains his philosophy of life – live simply and as close to nature as possible.

As a child, Mihalis was taught weaving by his mother and grandmother, both of whom knew thousands of patterns passed down from generation to generation.

Mihalis is now the only man on Crete making a living at the loom, reproducing the beautiful, intricate patterns from memory. As a boy, he was a shepherd for a time, and as a youth he went to Canada to study engineering. After graduating, he worked there for a number of years and added English and French to his language knowledge.

But, on the death of his father, he returned to Chania and assumed the responsibility of head of the Manousakis family. He put aside his training in engineering and took up the family profession of weaving.

People from all over the world order his hand woven textiles coloured with natural dyes; but the business remains small so that you may have to wait six years for your order to be completed. Mihalis was honoured by the Greek Government when he was asked to make sakouli (a form of Greek backpack) as gifts for the VIPs at the 2002 Olympics. On short notice, he produced 103!

Roka Carpets is a treasure trove, a salon for international visitors, a haven, a shrine to the art of weaving and a museum. This is where pilgrims go to hear a quiet, relaxed, competent and strong man talk about a profession that has largely been superseded by mechanisation and a simple way of life that is also threatened by technological progress.

This is a sanctuary where one goes to escape the frenzy of modern life and spend precious time with the keeper of the ancient loom as he weaves his magic with colourful textiles and wise words.