Chania Venetian Shipyards (Arsenalia)

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Location: Town

One of the most enduring landmarks of Chania is the 16th-century Venetian shipyards (arsenalia) located to the right of the harbor.

Shipbuilding flourished in Chania in the 16th century, so the first two boatyards were constructed as early as 1526. The entire complex, which consisted of 17 shipyards, was completed at the turn of the century, in 1599; a few years later, another 5 (known as the Moro shipyards) were built on the eastern side of the port.

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Top Tours and activities

  • Chania Trikke city tour

    Category: Activities

    See some of the finest spots in Chania's Old Town on a Trikke scooter, including the Ottoman and Venetian alleyways, the square of Splantzia, Halidon street, and an array of beautiful church buildings.

    40 minutes Map
    from € 28.00
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In their original form, the dockyards were domed oblong structures with an arched facade. They were around 50 meters long, 9 meters wide and 10 meters tall, and access from one to the other was facilitated by arched openings on the internal walls. They were also open on one side so that ships could sail into them before being pulled out of the water. The magnificent main entrance was situated in the middle of the complex, at the present-day end of Daskalogiani Street.

During the Ottoman era, the port of Chania lost its significance, and the shipyards were turned into military warehouses, while, subsequently, they served various other purposes. For example, they functioned as a school, a theater and a public hospital, besides housing the town hall of Chania from 1928 to 1941.

Over the course of time, 9 out of the 17 were pulled down, so that only a group of seven adjacent shipyards survives to this day. Visitors can also see 2 of the Moro shipyards, as well as the Grand Arsenal, the last of the dockyards to the west, which stands alone, apart from the rest. Due to the construction of the wharf, they no longer have access to the sea, and some have been converted into cultural centers housing exhibitions and conferences.



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