Saint Nikolaos of Splantzia

Saint Nikolaos in Splantzia Square: Where Venetian Grace Meets Ottoman Echoes

When visiting the charming city of Chania in Crete, one cannot help but be captivated by the rich historical and cultural heritage that adorns its streets. Among the many historical gems that grace this city, the Church of Saint Nikolaos at Spiagge, also known as the Church of Agios Nikolaos in Splantzia Square, stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of the island. This captivating landmark isn’t just a testament to faith but a fascinating journey through Chania’s vibrant history, whispering tales of Venetian grandeur and Ottoman influence.

A Glimpse into the Past

The Saint Nikolaos Church has witnessed the ebb and flow of history, bearing the imprints of various civilizations that have left their mark on the island.

Originally a Venetian church, built in the 14th century (around 1320), it was dedicated to Agios Nikolaos in the Dominican Republic.

For the construction of Saint Nikolaos Church, the church of Saints Peter and Paul in Heraklion’s old town was used as a model.

During the period of Turkish occupation (17th century), it was repurposed as the central mosque of Chania, named the Hugar Mosque (Conqueror’s Mosque).

The church returned to the Orthodox Church in 1918.

Beyond the Facade

The architectural style of the church is a harmonious blend of Venetian and Ottoman influences, reflecting the diverse periods of its existence.

You can observe their architectural traits in their elegant arches, graceful columns, and the bell tower piercing the sky. The Turks built an impressive minaret with two balconies that stands today.

The serene ambiance of the church offers visitors a glimpse into the artistic and architectural traditions that have shaped the island over the centuries.

Spiagge or spantzia square

Agios Nikolaos isn’t just a monument. It’s part of the vibrant fabric of Splantzia Square.

Of all the districts in the Old Town of Chania, Splantzia can be considered one that has kept its character from years past.

People passing by are exploring or enjoying local treats in cafes and tavernas at the current square (1821 Square, former Spiagge Square).

The square itself has a history of its own, as it stood as a silent spectator of all that happened.

One of those things was the hanging of the bishop of Kissamos, Melchizedek, in 1821 on the plane tree that still stands.

Saint Rocco's church

Another Venetian church located there is the one dedicated to Saint Rocco, which was constructed in 1630 and no longer operates as a church.

It’s dedicated to the saint who offered protection against the plague (different sources imply the disease spread in Chania at those times).

Others suggest that the epidemic disease was part of a strategic tactic of the Ottomans. The period of Ottoman rule saw the small chapel converted into a military guardhouse. It currently houses temporary art exhibitions.

Photos featuring saint nikolaos of splantzia

How to Get There

Saint Nikolaos is located in the city center, inside the old town, which is surrounded by the Venetian walls. Acessing there by foot is the most convenient way because of the lack of parking space. If your accommodation is within the walls, it will take you 10 to 15 minutes to walk there.


Open daily and easily accessible by foot or bike, Agios Nikolaos welcomes visitors with open arms (and respectful attire). Combine your visit with a stroll through the captivating Old Town, uncovering hidden gems and soaking up the unique atmosphere of Chania.


Modest Attire!
As a place of worship steeped in tradition, the church kindly asks visitors to dress modestly. Opt for clothing that covers your shoulders and knees when entering, a gesture of respect for the sanctity of the space and the local culture.
Silence and Reverence!
The church beckons for quiet contemplation. Lower your voice, move with a gentle presence, and allow the serenity to envelope you. Respect the sanctity of the space by refraining from loud conversations or disruptive noises. Find a moment for reflection and inner peace.
Respect Religious Practices!
During prayer times or religious services, allow the quiet reverence to settle. Observe a respectful silence, refraining from conversation or photography.
Art and Architecture!
Take time to appreciate the church's artwork, frescoes, and architectural elements. These can shed light on the historical and cultural relevance of the location.
Many churches rely on donations for upkeep and renovation. Consider giving a little donation to help maintain the church.

Destinations near saint nikolaos

More options for nearby locations to plan your vacations better!


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