The Venizelos family tombs
One of the most popular spots offering a panoramic view of Chania are the Venizelos family tombs, a few kilometres east of the city, on the road to Akrotiri and the airport. Here, at the small church of Profitis Ilias (Prophet Elijah), are the tombs of the famous Greek statesman Eleftherios Venizelos and his son Sophocles. The tombs are set in a pretty park with an uninterrupted view of Chania.
Eleftherios Venizelos, one of the most important figures in modern Greek history, was born in Turkish-occupied Crete in 1864 and died in self-imposed exile in Paris in 1936. He chose his burial site himself, a few kilometres east of his house in Chalepa. His body was brought from Paris and entombed here, while in 1965 a tomb was built for his son Sophocles, who served as Prime Minister of Greece from 1943 to 1952.
In the same spot is the statue of Spyros Kayales or Kayaledakis. On 9 February 1897, during the great bombardment of the Cretan revolutionaries by the fleet of the Great Powers, he made his body a flagpole to hold aloft the Greek flag, which had been shot down by the shells.
TIP: If you visit the Venizelos Tombs to see Chania from above, you can enjoy a drink or a coffee at the nearby Koukouvayia café, which also offers a wonderful view.
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