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The Venetian monastery of Santa Maria dei Miracoli in Chania and its two churches

Eleni-Olga Deligianni

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The Venetian monastery of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, on the Kastelli hill in Chania, was one of the six Latin monasteries in the town.

Today it is preserved in poor condition, since long neglect, the loss of the roofing, hemming-in by later buildings, unfortunate interventions and the lack of an integrated study for its promotion, mean that the monument is almost lost in the urban fabric and make its history hard to read.

The east side of the monument is founded on the Byzantine wall and is immediately apparent to visitors from the harbour. The survey of the monument, combined with a thorough study of its history, clarified its complex historical phases and brought a larger, much more important building to light. This was a three-aisled basilica of the middle years of Venetian rule, later integrated into the monastic complex of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, which has gone unmentioned by earlier and modern researchers.

The proposed interventions are intended to distinguish between the different historical phases of the important monument of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, particularly through the identification of characteristic features on the frontage visible from the harbour. The regeneration of the monument and the instructive reconstruction of the character of the Venetian monastery, by highlighting the monastery courtyard and movement around the area, aims to complete the historical mosaic of the town and promote the monument within the protected historical context of the old town of Chania. 

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