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J. Lesley Fitton

[Ta Chania; formerly Canea; anc. Kydonia]

Town on the northern coast of west Crete. Its small sheltered harbour attracted a Minoan settlement (Kydonia), which flourished throughout the Bronze Age (c. 3500–c. 1050 bc). As La Canea it prospered during the Venetian occupation (1252–1645), gaining a cathedral, a rector’s palace and fortification around the Kastelli Hill in the 14th century. The Venetian church of S Francesco now houses the Archaeological Museum. Despite 16th-century fortification of the town, in 1645 La Canea fell to the Turks, who ruled Crete from Kastelli Hill. Buildings from the Turkish period include several mosques, a bathhouse and a lighthouse. After the end of the Turkish occupation (1898) Chania remained capital of Crete until 1971. This article describes the Minoan settlement of Kydonia.

Minoan remains lie underneath the modern town, and excavation has therefore been possible only in restricted areas. Nonetheless, Chania has yielded finds of sufficient quantity and importance for it to seem likely that a Minoan palace was situated there, and that it was the ...



Gerald Cadogan

Village on the river of the same name on the south coast of Crete, 17 km from Ierapetra. It has two important Minoan settlements (Pyrgos and Phournou Koriphi), as well as a large Roman baths (2nd century ad) and residential area, both with mosaic pavements. Pyrgos, half a kilometre east of the modern village, on a prominent hill above the mouth of the river, was a long-lived (Early Minoan [em] ii to Late Minoan [lm] i, c. 2900/2600–c. 1425 bc) and prosperous settlement measuring at least 95×70 m. Excavated by G. Cadogan, largely between 1970 and 1973, the settlement has four principal Minoan phases, of which three (Pyrgos I: em ii, c. 2900/2600–c. 2200 bc; Pyrgos III: Middle Minoan [mm] ii–iii, c. 1800–c. 1600 bc; Pyrgos IV: lm i, c. 1600–c. 1425 bc...



Philip Betancourt

Minoan town on an island of the same name off the north-east coast of Crete, in the Gulf of Mirabello; it was first excavated by Richard Seager in 1906–7. A Minoan settlement was already established there by the Early Minoan (em) period; it expanded during the Middle Minoan (mm) period, reaching its largest size in Late Minoan (lm) i, at the end of which period it was destroyed by fire. (For discussion of the absolute dates associated with Minoan chronological periods see Minoan §I 4.) A small Byzantine monastery occupied the island from the 6th to the 9th centuries ad.

The buildings on Pseira were of local stone. Paved lanes and tall staircases divided the town into blocks of houses that followed the topography. Some houses were large and massively built, occupying several terraces on the slope of the hill, while others were more compact; most were two storeys high. One of the finest, the Building of the Pillar Partitions, had an inner court and an L-shaped wall of alternating pillars and doorways, so that the entire wall could be closed off or opened to admit a maximum of light and air to an area with a sunken bathtub. In Pseira’s shrine was a fine relief fresco (...