In the early 20th century Heraklion was the island's largest centre of commerce, and radical changes to the town plan were called for in response to the demands of a modern city.

Public works involving the demolition of monuments in the harbour area were initiated by the government of the Independent Cretan State and completed after World War Two.

In the initial phase, the Shipyard Gate and the half bastion protecting it, the Harbour Gate and a sizeable section of the arsenali were knocked down to make room for the sea-front road and an extension to the harbour.

A cargo dock was then built on the site previously occupied by the small Koules. Finally, a modern port serving passenger ferries and cargo vessels was added to the east of the Venetian harbour.

The small Turkish Koules being levelled to allow extension of the port, 1930 - 1940 (Liana Starida Collection)
One of the first passenger vessels in the newly extended harbour, 1950 - 1960 (Liana Starida Collection)
Recent aerial photograph showing the Koules and the two remaining sections of the shipyard complexes, 2004 (photograph: G. Papanikolaou, Yiorgos Papanikolaou)
View of the Koules from the area known as Bendenaki (= 'low wall'), which once formed part of the seafront defences, 2004 (photograph: Multimedia Lab)