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Information About Chania History
Indications have shown that the area was inhabited as far back as 6500 BC. Rock drawings were found close to the village of Asfendos Sfakion and stone made tools were found in the Samaria Gorge by a Swedish scientist. Evidence of open workings from the end of the Neolithic period have been found in Kastelli and Nerokourio Kydonias.
During the Minoan period the area was thickly populated. From the late Minoan period to 69 BC when the Romans captured many towns including Kydonia - today known as Hania - one of the major towns of ancient Crete, such as Amfimalta, Anopoli, Kissamos to name a few.
Ancient Kydonia kept her place at the peak until the Arab invasion of 824 AD. The name Hania is believed to have originated from the name Al Hanim given to the town by the Arab invaders. The town was freed by Nikiforo Fokas in 961. In 1252, the Venetian invaders rebuilt the town and later fortified it against invading pirates.
In 1645, it was captured by the Turks, whose dominance was never stabilised. The area of Sfakia was never captured by the Turks. During the Turkish dominance the town was the base of the Pasha and from 1850 until 1897, Kastelli became the capital of Crete. The Turks departed in 1897 upon the declaration of the independence of Crete.
The joining of Crete with Greece was marked by the raising of the Greek flag at the Firka Fortress in 1st December 1913.
The famous Battle of Crete during WWII began at Maleme in 1941 with the invading German forces and their occupation continued until 1945.
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