The Turkish Mosque Yiali Tzami (or Giali Tzami) is hard to miss, as it dominates the Venetian harbour of Chania.
The mosque is an imposingly large, square building with a great dome supported by four flying arches. You will notice that the building also has six small domes, but no minaret. The minaret was demolished in the early 20th century.
The name “Yiali Tzami” comes from the Turkish “Yali Tzamissi”, meaning “seaside mosque”. The mosque was a Muslim place of worship until 1923, when the last Muslims left Crete at the exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey. In the courtyard were palm trees and the tombs of various pashas. The mosque was dedicated to Küçük Hassan Pasha, the first Turkish military governor of Chania. It was the first mosque built in Crete after the Turkish conquest of the city of Chania in 1649.
Recent research by the Archaeological Service has shown that the mosque was built on the site of a small church.
From an architectural point of view, the Yiali Tzami is strongly Arabic in style.
It housed the Chania Museum for a time but is now used for art exhibitions.