The renovation of the Market Hall in Chania is one of the most important projects currently underway in this city. Its inhabitants are patiently waiting for the completion of the works, for whom the hall is not only a place where they can buy good local food, but also a place to meet. The opening after the reconstruction is also awaited by tourists who eagerly visit this place in search of products from Cretan producers. The renovation work schedule assumed completion of the hall's reconstruction in two years, and when signing the contract, the contractor ambitiously declared an even 18-month deadline. Unfortunately, it is already obvious that this deadline will not be met.
The renovation of the iconic market hall began at the end of January 2022. The condition of the building was so bad that, in addition to replacing the roof, the structure itself also required reconstruction. The Market Hall was inaugurated on December 4, 1913 by Eleftherios Venizelos and since then it has operated continuously for 109 years. There were 52 local shops operating there, which were usually family businesses passed down from generation to generation.
Unfortunately, serious difficulties occurred during renovation works, which effectively stopped the progress of the works.
The first reason is the discovery of the Venetian walls just under the foundations of the market square, shortly after the reconstruction began. In Greece, such archaeological surprises can effectively block any renovations and construction for a long time. An example is the long-term renovation of the Archaeological Museum in Heraklion. This is also the case with the reconstruction of the Market Hall. The contractor has been waiting for several months for the approval of the revision of the wall discovery by the Central Archaeological Council (ΚΑΣ), which must indicate how further reconstruction should proceed. It should be conducted in such a way that the new discovery can be best exposed.
The second problem lies with the company performing the reconstruction. Recently, there has been a change of ownership and various administrative problems have arisen, which also raises serious concerns for the city authorities.
The Market Hall in Chania before renovation
For the above reasons, it must now be assumed that the work being carried out will significantly exceed the adopted schedule. According to him, the roof should have been installed in September this year, which was not met. The mayor of Chania is quite optimistic about a 6-month extension of the renovation (until summer 2024), but if the Archaeological Council continues to withhold the recommendation, the completion date of the works will be moved further and further away with each passing day.
An extraordinary meeting between the Mayor of Chania and the Minister of Culture, Lina Mendoni, has been scheduled for this Wednesday, November 15. The mayor is to be accompanied by the deputy for technical services, and officials from the ephorate of antiquities are also to be present. The Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitostakis, was even informed about the delay in the renovation of this important place for the city by the mayor of Chania. It is rather doubtful that this meeting will solve all the problems of this reconstruction, but perhaps it will at least slightly speed up the administrative work dependent on public offices.