Old Town Chania
During the occupation of Chania by the Turks, the Turks settled on the east side of the city, in the neighborhoods of Splantzia and Castelli, while the Christians were mainly concentrated on the other side of the town, in Topana.
The Splantzia district is located south and east of the walled hill of Kastelli. In the years of the Ottoman occupation it was known as the Turkish neighborhood of the city with its central Square having the same name, nowadays known as the Square of 1821, which was valued by the Turks in the way the Santrivani was deemed by the Christians.
The new traditions, religious and other requirements needed by the conquerors resulted in many buildings of the previous era of Venetian rule being influenced greatly by Turkish architecture. A typical example is the square of Splantzia.
The Venetian church of St. Nicholas, which was part of the monastery of Dominican monks (part of which is being revived in the north of the church), was turned into a central mosque of the city in honor of the Sultan Ibrahim, the “Hougar Tzamisi” meaning “Mosque of the Sovereign “. Later, in 1919 the mosque was converted into an Orthodox church of St. Nicholas. However, distinct signs of Turkish architecture can be seen clearly as a minaret remains saved in a corner of the facade of the church.
Unlike the Venetian church of St. Nicholas which was entirely influenced by Turkish architecture, there is also the Venetian church in honor of St. Rocco which is located in the northwest corner of the Splantzia square, it has been totally unaffected by the Ottoman period and the next phases of history.
In the square of Splantzia, a railed fence and some stairs leading down from the square may catch your eye. This leads to a large underground fountain built during the Ottoman occupation which was used in cleansing rituals which took place in the mosque.
Next to the fountain, a large plane tree has its own history. After the Greek revolution of 1821, the date from which the present Square of Splantzia got its name, Greece was liberated after nearly 300 years of slavery by the Turks. The Turks in Chania fearing action against them hung from the tree in the square, as an example to the people, the active Bishop of Kissamos, Melchizedek Despotaki.
Today, the tables from the cafes which stand under the shade of the plane tree in the square nowadays offer coolness during the hot summer days, and offering the visitors to our town a chance to cool down and enjoy a well deserved break from the long walks in the old town of Chania.
Source : www.chania-crete-greece.com