Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas

The Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas, located in the city of Chania on the Greek island of Crete, was first built in 1320 as a Dominican monastery. During Turkish times, it was used as a barracks and in 1645 it was converted into a mosque, known as the Hugar Mosque (“Mosque of the ruler”), which explains the tall minaret that still stands next to the church (mosque) to this day. And until 1923, the mosque held the sacred sword of the Turkish Dervish, who would climb the tower in order to call the faithful to prayer. Then in 1928, the mosque was converted again, this time into an Orthodox church dedicated to St. Nicholas (Greek: Agios Nikolaos). Today, the building is unique in that on one side stands a church bell tower, while on the other stands a minaret — each co-existing peacefully next to the other.

The present-day church stands in the former Turkish quarter of the town, the district of Splantzia, which is located east of the city’s Byzantine fortification wall. The area also features many beautiful narrow alleyways that are perfect simply for wandering. Another point of interest is Splantzia Square (aka Square 1821), with its pleasant coffee shops and large plane tree.

  • Visited: 2016

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