Paleochora - a tourist resort with relaxed atmosphere
Paleochora, Crete is a small town on the southwest coast of the Chania prefecture, some 77 km from the city of Chania, making it the south-easternmost geographical position of the European Community.
It is built on a small peninsula of 400 m width and 700 m length which has beaches on both sides and the steep mountain slopes of the White Mountains in the back, forming a natural protection against the South winds. The Libyan Sea wets its coasts of 11 km length.
It seems that nature and man have lived here in a mystical union throughout the ages. The beautiful landscapes, the abundant wild life, the vivid history, the fantastic seascapes and the pleasant climate, blend in with the contemporary life of quaint hotels and rent rooms, picturesque and traditional coffee shops, open-air summer theatres, discos and modern cafeterias, creating a memorable sensation to the visitor as he descends south, from Chania to Paleochora.
Paleochora’s economy is based on tourism and agriculture (mainly tomatoes cultivated in glass-houses and olive-oil). It has been a relaxing holiday place since the early 70’s, when it was a renowned hippies’ centre.
Paleochora is built on the ruins of the ancient city of Kalamydi and the larger area is rich in medieval Byzantine memorials. There are many small Byzantine chapels with interesting and rare wall paintings as well as the remains of early Christian churches.
In 1278 the Venetian general Marinos Gradengos had the historical castle of Selino built on an elevation overlooking the Lybian Sea. This memorial of the Venetian era - named the Fortezza, remains today behind the village of Paleohora. The fort gave its name to the whole province, which was renamed from Orina to Selino. The fort was destroyed in 1332 and rebuilt in 1334. Underneath the fort, the Venetians founded a new settlement named Vourgos for workers and merchants. The pirate Barbarossa destroyed the fort in 1539, but later in 1595 Dolf revamped it. In 1645 the Turk conquerors, modified and adjusted the fort to their needs. In 1834 an English traveller named Robert Pashley found the fort completely destroyed and the whole area uninhabited with only a granary and one or two small buildings left. The re-inhabitation of the town known today as Paleochora began in 1866.
During the Battle of Crete the town was the scene of fighting between motorcycle-riding troops of the German 95th Reconnaissance Battalion and the Eighth Greek Regiment (Provisional) with elements of the Cretan Gendarmerie.
Nowadays Paleochora is one of the fastest growing tourist towns in Crete with crystal clear waters, well-organized pebble beaches and beautiful, isolated little anchorages. Its population of 1.500 inhabitants expands to 10.000 in the summer. Visitors will find many hotels, restaurants, taverns, cafes, bars and nightclubs.
Paleochora has all the facilities like bank branches, post office, central telephone office, health centre, doctors, dentists, pharmacies, police station, coast guard and customs office and all kinds of stores.