Saturday, 5 April 2008
The former mosque
The former Turkish mosque sits by the edge of the old port next to the cafes in Hania, as though it had always been there. It used to be a tourist information office, but it's now used for exhibitions and other events right throughout the year, especially during the tourist season; it's only just past all the outdoor restaurants, tavernas, takeaway bars and cafes in the old part of town.
What's a mosque doing in a central position on a Greek port? Thankfully, it has never been in too bad a state of repair, nor has it ever been under threat of demolition. It just sits there reminding the locals of the history of their town, which has changed hands from ancient times, once ruled by the Romans, who were defeated by the Arabs, who were then thrown out of Hania by the Byzantines, who lost power to the Venetians, who were afraid of the Turks invading them, forcing them to build a wall right round the city. The Turks still managed to sneak in, and it was during their time here that they built this magnificent building that decorates the port. They were finally cast out of the town only just over a hundred years ago, after which the island of Crete became part of the Greek state.
To see exactly where the old mosque is situated and what the weather is like in Hania, click here. I hope you like what you see.