The port of Chania and its fortifications appear already in the first isolaria, in manuscript or in print. In the late 16th century, the work by G. Rosaccio (1598), influenced by earlier similar works, indexes the well organized city, then a Venetian domain. In his remarkable maps, Fr. Basilicata (1618) highlighted the topography and morphology of Chania and its surroundings through skillful use of colour. The edition by German engraver and painter J. von Sandrart (1686) shows the strong walls of the Venetian city, as does Ol. Dapper's important historical and geographical treatise, which also includes views of the islets in the larger area of Chania.
The plates in the work by J. Sandrart (1687) show castles and other location, in their majority under Ottoman rule. Several similar works which highlight the victories of the Venetians against the Ottomans in the Sixth Ottoman-Venetian War (1684-1699) were released during the same period. The editions by J. Peeters in the late 17th century (1686 and 1690) also exalt the victories of the Holy League in the Ottoman-Venetian wars. The plates show cities, ports and other locations in Austria, Southeastern Europe, the eastern Mediterranean and places in Asia all the way to India and Saudi Arabia.
The invaluable work by pioneering traveller J. Pitton de Tournefort (1717) provides the first “realistic” view of the city from the sea.
Robert Pashley composed a travel account accompanied by innovative illustrations (1837). The narrative of his archaeological tour and the snapshots of everyday life which he describes come alive in the plates showing landscapes, monuments, antiquities and people of Chania.
Maps of the bay of Souda and of Gramvousa island appear approximately a century later in G.A. Olivier's work (1801) and in the port index by J. Roux (1804). The prolific and succesful landscape painter Ed. Lear travelled from the Ionian islands to Crete, and toured mainly the western part of the island (1864). His works convey the flora and landscape of mountain territories, as well as noteworthy buildings and monuments. There is also a view of the port of Chania in colour, dating from the same period (Piraeus and Ports).
The Album of 1984 includes rare and very interesting wood engravings taken from the pioneering weekly review “The Illustrated London News” (1842-1885) and the similarly themed magazine “The Graphic” (1869-1885). The plates depict locations, people and events (political, social and military), from 1842 to 1885.
Of great interest are the photographs from the era of the struggle for the incorporation of Crete into the Greek State (Al. Van den Brule, 1907). The account of French physician D.N.J Duclot (1898), which narrates his stay on Crete is illustrated with a series of photographs. Duclot describes the island and the events thattook place while Crete was under the protection of the European Powers in the process of becoming autonomous under the Sultan's suzerainty. Finally, the works of famous photographer F.F.Boissonnas (first quarter of the 20th century) convey the mountainous landscape, the port and Cretan people themselves in a revealing way.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou