The small port at Chandax played its own special role in the life of the town and of the island as a whole. From as early as the days of Arab rule, it acquired a significant role as a centre from which goods and manpower were transported to the East. Its importance grew during the second Byzantine period, reaching a heyday in Venetian times. The Venetians were to elevate it to the status of a major trading centre and one of the main naval stations for their fleet in the Eastern Mediterranean Basin. Thus it was that they carried out major engineering works, taking pains to surround the harbour with walls and fortresses.

Efforts to maintain and enhance the port also preoccupied officials under Ottoman rule, for it remained an important centre of trade and defence.

The significance of the Venetian harbour began to wane in the 19th century, as a result of constant battering by the elements and human intervention. The area assumed its present-day appearance following the construction of the sea-front road and the modern port.

Three-dimensional artist's impression of the port at Chandax as it was under Venetian rule (Antonis Katzourakis, Multimedia Lab)
Bird's-eye view of the sea wall, 2004 (photograph: Vassilis Kozonakis)