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It is said we will never see the remains of what might have been the greatest of all the Minoan city-states, surpassing Knossos, Phaistos and the others. We know for a fact that there was a great settlement and palace at Kydonia, on the hill known as Kastelli, overlooking what we now call the Venetian Harbor in today’s Chania. Kydonia (pronounced roughly Ky-dhon-EEa) was the biggest of several major cities in the west of Crete. We know a lot about it, but we would love to know much more. Because modern Chania is so densely populated, we surely will never see more than the occasional archeological dig of the old city.
The largest and best of the digs is located in an open-air plot on Kanevarou Street, approximately with an address of 34. It dates approximately to 1450 BC. This plot has provided a great many artefacts, and much knowledge. The remains we see are what are left of an urban neighborhood, built on top of earlier ruins, that burned down around 1450 BC. Other buildings were constructed on the burnt remains, but they also burned down some 100 years later. It was in these later ruins that several rare tablets bearing writing in Linear B were found. Linear B was a syllabic script for Mycenaean Greek, which predated the Greek alphabet by several hundred years. There are signs of civilization in this spot of land dating back to before the Minoan age (EM, Early Minoan), which began roughly around 2600 to 3000 BC.
There is another small dig preserved behind glass beneath a store at 63 Daskalogianni Street in the Splantzia neighborhood. According to Wikipedia, this was probably a sanctuary or “lustral basin” dating to what is called LMI, or, Late Minoan I, which corresponds to the years 1750 and 1490 BC. Cemeteries and other burial grounds have been discovered in numerous areas reaching out even from the populated areas of current-day Chania. Whenever excavators do more than scrape the surface of Chania, they invariably reveal some neighborhood of old Kydonia. My wife Oksana and I recently came upon a street that had been dug up for repairs of electrical lines, and there they were in all their glory! – the reddish Minoan stones that lined ancient streets or built ancient homes. One cringes to think that it is all covered over again, although by law archaeologists are given time to research any new area that is opened up. In the summer of 2019 Oksana and I had traveled down to Sougia for a couple of days R&R. We noticed that a large swath of beach in front of a taverna had been cordoned off and we asked the taverna owner why. He said Minoan ruins had been discovered in the sand beneath the chaises lounge that he usually rented out for 8 Euros a day and he had been compelled to remove them all. It was a true hardship for a good man, but I must admit, I’m grateful that Greece and Crete are so careful about their history.
Photos and text  © copyright 2020 by John Freedman. Please do not use without permission, something I will mostly likely grant as long as you do the courtesy of asking.

General view of Kydonian ruins – houses and street – located at what is now Kanevarou 34.
Kydonian ruins beneath a storefront at Daskalogianni 63.
Kydonian ruins beneath a storefront at Daskalogianni 63.