The Catholic Church of Saint Francis (also known as the Monastery of Agios Fragkiskos) is one of the oldest and most impressive Venetian-style buildings in the Old Town of Chania, on Halidon Street. It used to house the Archaeological Museum of Chania until 2020.
The monastery was constructed sometime during the 16th century and it belonged to the Order of Friars Minor. Although its exact date of construction remains unknown, the earliest reference to the church in a report by Onorio Belli suggests that it survived the strong earthquake of 1595.
The building complex of the monastery was expanded in 1606 and the church was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman occupation period.
After the end of the Ottoman period, during the pre-war years, the buildings were used to house the cinema "Ideon Andro" and then the "Cafe Santan" around the 1930's. It also functioned as a prison where Russian war prisoners were being held during the Second World War. During the post-war times, it was used for storing military supplies until 1963.
The collection of the Archeological Museum was housed in the monastery from 1963 to 2020.
The monastery in its current form is mostly a result of extensive reconstruction works that occurred from the Venetian period and onwards and its original form has been lost for the most part, with just a few exceptions, including a part of its belltower at the eastern side of the building complex.
Other original fragments that were recovered at the monastery are currently kept among the display items of the Historical Museum of Crete. Its marble entrance gate was transferred to the Court House building (Dikastiko Megaron) of Chania during the Ottoman occupation years.
The former facilities of the Archeological Museum in the monastery are no longer open to the public, although conservation works have been planned so that the building can become a functional cultural center again in the future, possibly in the form of a Byzantine-Medieval museum.