Crete

Hania

 

The Etz-Hayyim restored synagogue

 

There were two synagogues in Hania. The oldest one of these still stands: the synagogue proper is a fine Venetian building. It appears to have been initially a church, and was probably ceded to the Jewish community in the 17th century at the time of the Ottoman takeover.

After the bombing of Hania in 1944, the synagogue was not used again and sank into oblivion. In 1995, a serious earthquake damaged the synagogue to the point of imminent collapse. Not long after, a decision was made to include the synagogue with 100 endangered monuments of international cultural concern. After renovation, the synagogue has officially re-opened in 1999, when the Mezuzot were put on its doors and a Sefer Torah was brought in ceremoniously.

 

The synagogue has a resource library with over 1700 books.  They cover Ancient, Medieval history and there are three special sections containing books on Philosophy, Spirituality, Prayer, and history relative to Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

 

The site of the synagogue also includes a renovated Mikve (ritual bath). Until 1996, it was choked with local trash and after being cleaned it remarkably came back to life. Fed by underground springs its waters are very cold.

 

Location: Parados Kondylaki,
Tel. & Fax +30 28210 862 86
e-mail:
info@etz-hayyim-hania.org

For more info, visit: www.etz-hayyim-hania.org

 

Other sites

 

The Jewish quarter is still known as the Ovraiki (that is “Hebrew”, a word used in Greek for the Jewish quarter. It is located in the old town, off the harbor front. This zuddeccha (ghetto) was outside the walls until the 16th century. It had one central street, known today as Kondylaki, which runs parallel to Halidon St. (on which the archeologiacal museum is located).

 

Based on Jewish Sites and Synagogues of Greece -

Nicholas P. Stavroulakis and Timothy J. DeVinney - Talos press