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Canea

CANEA, or Khania, the principal seaport and since 1841 the capital of Crete, finely situated on the northern coast of the island, about 25 m. from its western extremity, on the isthmus of the Akrotiri peninsula, which lies between the Bay of Canea and the Bay of Suda (latitude 35° 31' N., longitude 24° 1' E.). Surrounded by a massive Venetian wall, it forms a closely built, irregular and overcrowded town, though of late years a few of its streets have been widened. The ordinary houses are of wood; but the more important buildings are of more solid materials. The Turks have a number of mosques; there are Greek churches and a Jewish synagogue; an old Venetian structure serves as a military hospital; and the prison is of substantial construction. The town is now the principal seat of government; the seat of a Greek bishop, who is suffragan to the metropolitan at Candia, and the official residence of the European consuls. The harbour, formed by an ancient transverse mole nearly 1200 ft. long, and protected by a lighthouse and a fort, would admit vessels of considerable tonnage; but it has been allowed to silt up until it shoals off from 24 ft. to 10 or even 8, so that large vessels have to anchor about 4 or 5 m. out. The principal articles of trade are oil and soap, and there is a pretty extensive manufacture of leather. The fosse is laid out in vegetable gardens; public gardens have been constructed outside the walls; and artesian wells have been bored by the government. To the east of the town a large Arab village had grown up, inhabited for the most part by natives of Egypt and Cyrenaica, who acted as boatmen, porters and servants, but since the fall of the Turkish government most of these have quitted the island; while about a mile off on the rising ground is the village of Khalepa, where the consuls and merchants reside. The population of the town is estimated at 20,000. Canea probably occupies the site of the ancient Cydonia, a city of very early foundation and no small importance. During the Venetian rule it was one of the strongest cities in the island, but it fell into the hands of the Turks in 1646, several years before the capture of Candia. In 1856 it suffered from an earthquake. The neighbouring plain is famous for its fruitfulness, and the quince is said to derive its name Cydonia from the town. (See also Crete.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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