Ottoman Rule (1669 - 1898)
The capitulation of the Venetian defenders at Chandax in 1669 was the concluding act in the Ottoman conquest of Crete. The island then became an Eyialet (administrative region), with Chandax - thenceforth officially known as Kandiye - as its capital. The lengthy siege, followed by the departure of the remaining population together with the Venetians, bequeathed the Ottomans a town largely destroyed and abandoned. Names of Turkish derivation were given to sectors and neighbourhoods in the town, which changed face yet again, with the addition of minarets and the conversion of most Christian churches into mosques, seminaries and public bathhouses.

Throughout the uprisings in the 19th century, the fortified urban centres on the island, including Heraklion, served as places of refuge for Muslim populations living in the outlying countryside. This created numerous problems, exacerbating the predicament of Christian townsfolk, who often fell victim to violent attacks by frenzied Muslims, as occurred in June 1821.

In 1830 Crete was ceded to Mehmet Ali, ruler of Egypt, and remained under Egyptian domination until 1840, when it was returned to Ottoman hands. Under the Egyptians, roads, bridges and fortifications were built or repaired, the Venetian port was dredged and the aqueduct extended.

The town remained the capital of Crete until the mid-19th century, when the seat of Ottoman administration was transferred to Chania.





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View of Chandax and environs. French plan drawn after the fall of the town to the Turks, 1685 (Bibliotheque Nationale de France)
17th century Turkish map of Crete (The British Library, London)
Fresco found in a Turkish house depicting Chandax occupied by the Turks (Historical Museum of Crete, © S.C.H.S, Heraklion)
A church converted into a coffee house, 1900 - 1905 (G. Gerola, Vikelaia Municipal Library, Heraklion)
A church converted into a coffee house, 1900 - 1905 (G. Gerola, Vikelaia Municipal Library, Heraklion)
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