Tabakaria is the coastal area of Halepa, an up-and-coming area of Chania. The area is arguable the aristocratic corner of the city and it was also the home to Eletherios Venizelos. His home has recently been turned into a museum, and is a great place to visit.
“Tabakaria” is the Greek word for “Tanneries” (leather treatment factories) and takes the name from the factories that once operated here. The tannery factories played an important role in the local economy in the past and they dominated most of the coastal area of Halepa. There are still some in operation, but their number has considerably shrunk over the years. The buildings that once housed the tanneries are left in the area almost intact for various reasons, the main being the legislation that does not allow for external facades to be altered. Only time has been allowed to leave its marks on the buildings and has turned them into backdrops and canvases for the local photographers.
The area holds a mystic sense of bygone times and although many of the buildings which worked as tanneries now look like ruins, there is surely more than meets the eye. Walking around Tabakaria feels like a journey back in time with a true nostalgic charm.
Today Halepa is a self-contained neighborhood of Chania, ideal for the ones that want to be part of the city without actually being in it, as it is located about 2km from the city centre. It houses one of the campuses of the Polytechnic of Crete, whilst it boasts many picturesque corners. Modern and traditional coffee shops, restaurants, grocery shops, supermarkets, bakeries, pharmacies, parks, children playgrounds are scattered around in this beautiful neighborhood within walking distance from the Tabakaria Seaview apartment. There are two very beautiful churches that definitely worth a visit, namely the Evangelistria Church next to the campus and the Agia Magdalini church of Orthodox Russian architecture located in beautiful lush green garden with flowers and large pine and eucalyptus trees. This place becomes a true oasis for the hot summer days. Halepa is a well connected with a frequent local bus service, however walking to the city centre or to the old town of Chania is a very beautiful walk by the sea.