Topanas is one of the oldest districts of the Old City. During the Ottoman domination, Chania was confined within the Venetian Walls. After the occupation of the Ottomans, in 1645, the “old town” was divided for the Greek population and the Ottomans.
The Ottomans settled in the affluent districts of Kastelli and Splantzia, while the Greek population in the northwest, the Topana district. The name of the district comes from the Venetian Purification Warehouse (in Turkish Tophane), which means bombs for cannons.
Topanas was bordered by the Jewish district. During the Ottoman domination, many buildings were built, which serve the needs and religious habits of the Ottomans.
The Venetian Fortress of Firka, which until today retains its Turkish name, was turned into a barracks during Turkish rule and later in the 19th century in prison
In Topana quarter, they are some of the most important monuments, such as the Maritime Museum, the monastery of San Salvatore with Vyzanitni collection, the Virgin of Renee and an Ottoman bath.
After the Turkish occupation, the “Great Protestant Forces” show great interest and love for Chania. In the Topana district, consulates of the European countries are being created. Today many of the historic buildings, hotels, shops, cafes, and restaurants. The impressive architecture of buildings Old Town is double, in some cases triple, different types of architecture. (Venice, Turkish and European)
Tour of the Topana district:
Exploring the neighborhood, you will pass from Theotokopoulou Street, where the fortress of Firka, the San Salvatore monastery and the Venetian warehouse are located. Small shops with handcrafted creations and hotels enchant the beauty of the picturesque street. Afterward, you will descend the stairs of Zambeliou Street, which leads to the Jewish Quarter and the lively square of the Fountain. In the junction with Douka Street, you will meet the Turkish bath. On Kondylaki Street, you will meet the Etz Hayim Synagogue, in Hebrew language meaning, the Tree of Life, which is the only surviving synagogue on Crete. It was built in the 17th century and suffered serious damage during the Second World War. Since its restoration, it functions as a place of prayer, memory, reflection, and reconciliation.
At Theophanous street, you will admire the impressive Venetian mansion of the 17th century, which houses Casa Delfino. The street is then connected to Moschou Street, where the gateway to the mansion, the mansion and the chapel of the Renieri aristocratic family are here. The Renieri family was one of the most prestigious Venetian families that lived in Chania during the Venetian domination. Most of the complex is still preserved, as well as the family coat of arms with the Latin inscription at the gate of the mansion.
Finally, do not forget to walk in Aggelou Street, for many the Old Town Lady, starting from Koundouriotis coast and joining with Theotokopoulou. Here you will see impressive examples of Venetian architecture of the 17th and 18th century as well as the highest stone five- storey Turkish building. One of these is the building where the Venetian Commanders Offices were housed. Now on the ground floor is the Faggoto Jazz Bar, one of the first jazz bars in Greece since 1978. The rest of the floors are housed in the charming boutique hotel Faggoto Art Residences.
Stores with impressive handcrafted jewelry, ceramics, and traditional carpets adorn the small streets of Tophana district with owners who will give you their sweet smile and impress you with their stories and creations.
The Three Turkish Hamam of Chania
It is located at the crossroads of Zambeliou and Douka streets. It is a building with six large hemispheric domes without a drum. The bell-shaped glass “eyes” that decorate the dome are the only source of illumination along with the three arched windows on the northwest sides.
Hamam in Karte Street:
It is located in the old aristocratic district of Kastelli. The building is surrounded by vaulted arcades and domes. The central space is covered by a lowered dome. Unfortunately, the second floor, as well as a part of the perimeter buildings, has been destroyed.
Hamam at Chalidon Street:
It was built near the Roman bath with mosaic floors and has many small domes on the roof. Unfortunately, the second floor and the perimeter gallery were destroyed in 1941. Inside, architecture with niches and arches is preserved.