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Crete > Chania > What to see > Monuments

Monuments

Tombs of Eleftherios and Sofoklis Venizelos, Chania

Venizelos tombs 15In the east suburbs of Chania, on the hill of Profiti Hlia (Prophet Elijah), there are buried Eleftherios Venizelos (one of the most significant politicians of modern Greece) and his son Sofoklis Venizelos.

The Venizelos' tombs are located in a peaceful park full of needle trees, with great views to the city of Chania. On the wall that surrounds the tombs the patriotic poet Kostis Palamas declares; "If any adornments befit the tomb/ place an upright pillar candle on top of it/ with a flame which, like Greece, cannot be extinguished".

Next to the tombs it is the 16th century church of Profitis Hlias; almost every weekend weddings take place here. It is a 10-minute drive to reach the Tombs from the centre of Chania.

Nearby the Venizelos' tombs there are three cafes with lovely views of Chania during the sunset and excellent sweets; the Ostria, the Nimfes and the Koukouvagia.

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German Cemetary, Maleme

German Cemetary Maleme 1In the German cemetery near the village of Maleme, west of Chania, are buried 4.465 German soldiers who died in Crete during the years of the Second World War (1941-1945).

In Maleme took place the famous Battle of Crete which started on the 20th of May, 1941, and led to the occupation of the island by the Germans. There were 23.500 German soldiers against 33.000 British, New Zealand, and Australian soldiers as well as 10.000 Greek soldiers and thousands of locals-Cretans who fought against the conquerors; 6.580 Germans and 15.000 British, New Zealand and Australian soldiers were killed in the battle of Maleme.During the battle of Crete the Germans concentrated all their troops on the Maleme airfield (the airfield is obvious from the cemetery).

The key point of the airfield was the hill overlooking the runway, which was at a level 107 above the sea and it was defended by the 22nd New Zealand Battalion. The German aircrafts were attacking the hill while the paratroopers tried to create a safe zone around the airfield to bring supports and soldiers. When the first troops landed the next day, the air field resembled an airfield cemetery; the risk however succeeded and the Maleme had fallen to the Germans.

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