Venetian Shipyards

Crete travel guide

Venetian Shipyards in Heraklion

The Venetian shipyards in Heraklion are in the Venetian harbour. At the end of 25th of August Street, take the marble steps down to the right and you will find yourself in front of what remains of the shipyards.

The Venetian shipyards are also known as the Venetian Arsenals.

The Heraklion shipyards during the Venetian period

Heraklion shipyards during the Venetian period
The Heraklion shipyards during the Venetian period

The shipyards are elongated, vaulted chambers for the construction and repair of the ships of the Venetian fleet. The Venetian navy ruled the Mediterranean and the Venetians built shipyards in all their harbours, ensuring that their war and merchant vessels would always be in good condition and ready to sail quickly and safely from port to port.

The Heraklion shipyards were an ambitious technical project completed in four phases from the 15th to the 17th century. A total of 19 shipyards were built in Heraklion, grouped in three complexes. They communicated via arched openings and were closed off with doors of heavy slatted timbers.

Today only 5 or 6 of the 19 shipyards remain. It should be noted that the shipyards facing the Venetian harbour are not complete, as a large section was demolished to build the coastal road.

Between the shipyards was a large salt warehouse, while a large water cistern with a capacity of 20,000 barrels was built to the west of the last shipyard. It consists of two vaulted chambers with connecting archways, with four skylights to let in air and light.

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