Chalepa is one of the most beautiful and historic districts of Chania. It lies east of the city, on the coastal road to the airport and Akrotiri. Today Chalepa, with its imposing mansions and luxury villas, is considered the aristocratic neighbourhood of Chania.
Chalepa is famous as the scene of the most important political events in 19th-century Crete. It was the site of the palace of the High Commissioner, i.e. the governor of semi-autonomous Crete during the time of the Cretan State. Here, too, were located the consulates of the Great Powers during the same period.
Venizelos house in Chalepa
Chalepa was also the chosen place of residence of Eleftherios Venizelos, an important political figure who played a decisive role as Prime Minister of Greece during a critical time for the Greek state, in the early 20th century.
The family house was built by Eleftherios’ father, Kyriakos Venizelos, in 1877. Chalepa was considered a distant suburb, without even a surfaced road to Chania. However, the climate was healthier and Chalepa was home to the better class of “citizens of the capital”, i.e. of Chania, formerly the capital of Crete. And of course Chalepa was where the General Consulates of the Great Powers were, the “great school of diplomacy” which trained Eleftherios Venizelos.
Today the family home of Eleftherios Venizelos houses the “Eleftherios K. Venizelos” National Research and Study Foundation, whose aims include turning the historical home of the great statesman into a museum.
The church of Agia Magdalini at Chalepa
On Dagli Street in Chalepa is the church of Agia Magdalini (St Mary Magdalene), built in the Russian style. The church was built by Prince George of Greece in 1901-1903, when he was High Commissioner of Crete, with funds he brought from Russia. The church stands out due to its architectural style and Russian dome.
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