Chania Kandanos

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General information

Kandanos is a lovely village built on the fringes of the White Mountains, in one of the most beautiful and fertile regions of Crete. Covered with olive groves and vineyards, Kandanos is located 60 km from Chania Town, close to Paleochora, and it is known for its fine virgin olive oil production.

The history of Kandanos begins in the Archaic era, around 1049 BC. The ancient town flourished during the Roman and early Byzantine times, and excavations have revealed a large edifice, whose floor covers a surface of 900 square meters. Covered with magnificent mosaics with geometrical patterns, this building seems to have been the Roman Praetorium. However, ancient Kandanos was completely destroyed as a result of Arab raids and information about it is scarce.

Many Byzantine churches and monasteries can be found in the settlements around Kandanos, converting it into an open-air museum of Byzantine iconography. Most of them were built between the 13th and the 15th centuries, boasting beautiful frescoes. If you happen to pass by Kandanos, take the time to visit the church of Agios Ioannis in Trachiniakos and that of Agia Anna in Anisaraki, which boasts an exceptionally rare icon of Saint Anne breastfeeding the Virgin Mary. Other notable churches include that of Michael the Archangel and that of Agios Georgios.

During the times of the Ottoman occupation, the village played an important role, as it was the seat of the Turkish commander. It was here that the 1866 Cretan Revolt started, while numerous other armed conflicts took place in Kandanos throughout the 19th century.

During the Second World War, the village was blown up by the Germans, in reprisals for the inhabitants’ resistance following the Battle of Crete. In the central square, there are copies of the inscriptions left by the Nazi conquerors, prohibiting the rebuilding of Kandanos. Nearby, there is a small memorial museum exhibiting the original inscriptions, as well as photographs, weapons, personal items, letters and other objects of the time.

Nature lovers can trek the densely vegetated gorge of Kandanos, which is traversed by the Koukiza torrent. A number of smaller dingles and gullies also open up within the historic gorge. At the Nerospilios site, visitors can see a marble inscription commemorating an ambush that the local residents set up against the German troops in 1941. Another natural monument can be found near the church of Agios Georgios; it is an ancient olive tree, whose age is estimated at over 3,000 years!

At the same time, Kandanos is a great place to sample traditional Cretan delicacies, like kalitsounia (pies stuffed with cheese or herbs), snails, and a variety of meat dishes. The local meat pie, in particular, which is stuffed with pork and three different kinds of cheese, is a dish you will always look back on with nostalgia.

Kandanos Map

Explore our interactive map of Kandanos.


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