Trimartiri Cathedral is the prominent church in the picturesque Chania Old Town. It is a church with impressive architecture in the Venetian style.
Trimartiri serves as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Chania city. It is dedicated to the Presentation of Virgin Mary.
There is historical evidence that there was a church in the spot in the 14th century, during the Venetian era of Crete, which was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It is possible, though, that there used to be an older church on the site since centuries earlier.
During the Ottoman occupation of Crete, the building lost its religious character and functioned as a soap factory. In that time, in one corner of the building, and with the tolerance of the local pasha, there was the sacred for the Christians icon of the Presentation of Virgin Mary. In front of the icon, there was always a lit candle, making it an unofficial shrine for the Christians of Chania city.
During the 1850s there was agitation in the Christian population of the city, as the main Agioi Anargyroi church had become too small for the growing local Christian population. At the same time, the soap factory that functioned in the old church’s premises proved to be a financial failure.
These led the local pasha to approve the construction of a big Christian church in the site of the soap factory. This way, he would avoid unrest from the Christians in Chania city.
So in 1860, Trimartiri Cathedral was built in the spot where it still stands today. But the church suffered big damages twice during historical events since that time.
The first was during the Cretan revolution in 1897. After the revolution, the church damages were repaired with sponsorship from the Tsar of Russia, who wanted to maintain good relations with the Cretans after the Russian bombardment in the Akrotiri area in previous years.
The second time the church was damaged was during World War II in the bombardment of Crete from the Germans in 1941. Again, the local population managed to find the required funds to restore Trimartiri Cathedral to its former glory.
Chalidon Street is the more central street in Chania Old Town. It starts in 1866 Square and descends until it reaches the center of the iconic Old Venetian Harbour of Chania.
While going down Chalidon street to get to the Venetian Harbour, in the middle of its length and on the right side of the street, there is a beautiful square – a rarity in the densely populated Old Town of Chania – with a picturesque big church standing behind it.
This big church is Trimartiri Metropolitan Cathedral of Chania city. The lovely square in front of the church is the center of the local activity, with many small hotels, cafes and shops in the area, and buzzing with people during the tourist season.
The cathedral has a very interesting architecture that stands out. It is inspired by the Venetian religious architecture. It is called “Trimartiri” which means “of the three martyrs” in Greek, because of its three aisles.
The cathedral is dedicated to the Presentation of Virgin Mary, who is honoured in the central main aisle of the church. In the left aisle, Agios Nikolaos, protector of the sailors, is honoured. And in the right aisle, the Three Hierarchs are honoured, who are the saint protectors of education and culture.
In the square in front of the church, on its right side, is the statue of the Ecumenical Patriarch Athinagoras. On the other side of Chalidon street opposite from the cathedral square lies the Catholic Cathedral of Chania city, which is dedicated to the Assumption of Virgin Mary.
Trimartiri Cathedral of Chania city is the landmark church in the center of Chania Old Town. Along with the beautiful square in front of it, it is one of the most popular spots in the city.
When visiting Chania city, chances are you will find many people enjoying the square, either tourists or locals, as the cathedral is a popular place for young local couples to get married. With its exquisite architecture and its very central location, Trimartiri Cathedral is a church and a spot in the city not to be missed.