Old Venetian Harbor

The old port is one of the favorite walk tours of the citizens, a picturesque romantic place …

The Old Venetian Harbor can be admired by the visitors, next to the modern port of Heraklion, currently serving as a marina with the impressive fortress of Koules that once protected its entrance.

In the coastal avenue we can still see the surviving oblong arched shipyards, the tank of Zane and the salt storage house.

The first major port constructions were carried out by the Arabs in the 9th – 10th century, in order to use Heraklion as a base for their pirate raids. The port was also used for the Byzantine Castle of Handax (the name of Heraklion in that era) after 961 AD.
During the Venetian era, the port of Candia (as the Venetians called Heraklion) turned to the most important port in the Eastern Mediterranean with the largest export activity. In the 17th century the port could fit 50 galleys and, especially during the Cretan War (against the Turks) the entrance was blocked each night by a huge metal chain.
The Venetians exports to Europe included the famous Malvasia wine (one of the most famous wines of that era), salt (mainly from Elounda), honey, cheese, beeswax, silk, raisins, cotton and olive oil.