One of Chania’s oldest hammams (Turkish baths) has been turned into a unique art gallery and will now host a variety of exhibitions and cultural events throughout the year.
Located on Katre Street in Kastelli Hill, an old part of the city, the hammam is surrounded by vaulted arcades and smaller domes. This was once an elaborate two-floor building, however many parts of its exterior and interior were destroyed during the Second World War. Restoration work recently took place to makeover the building into a new cultural space, however it still features the old character and architecture of the building.
Chania’s Deputy Mayor for Culture, Yiannis Yiannakakis, revealed to Athens News Agency (ANA), that the old hammam will be used for cultural projects exhibitions and events, emphasising the promotion of art creations, including paintings, photographs, ceramics and sculptures.
History of the Turkish Hammam
The Turkish Hamam on Katre Street is one of the many public baths built by the Ottomans when they occupied Chania. It’s a type of Turkish bath that continues the tradition of Roman and Byzantine baths, with the underground hypocaust (heating system) and the earthen pipes circulating hot water and steam to the floor and surrounding walls.
Historic Area of Kastelli Hill
Kastelli is located on the hill above the old harbor in the city of Chania, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and what became later became known as Kastelli Hill (because of the Byzantine fortification that was built here). This was the first place to be inhabited over 5000 years ago.
Much later the Venetians established their headquarters, as did the Turks. Unfortunately, most of the district was destroyed by German bombings during WWII.
The main place for visitors to see the area (from the outside as the site is fenced off) is the excavations at Agia Ekaterini Square, only a few minute’s walk from the harbour.