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The building dates to the 15th century and was originally a Venetian Catholic church, the Church of St. Katherine, located in the heart of the small, centuries-old Jewish neighbourhood called Evraiki situated directly behind the harbour-front. The church was damaged in the 1540s during one of the Ottoman Turkish attacks on the city led by the Chief Admiral of the Ottoman fleet, Khair ad-Din Kapdian Pasha, otherwise known as Barbarossa. In the mid to late 17th century, after the eventual Ottoman conquest of Crete (1669), the building was acquired by Hania’s Jewish community who then converted it into a synagogue. Prior to the Second World War, Kal kadosh Etz Hayyim, a Romaniote synagogue, together with Beth Shalom (bombed in 1941), a Sephardic synagogue, served the needs of Hania’s Jewish community. Once the community was deported in 1944, Etz Hayyim was looted and desecrated and then occupied by squatters until the mid-1950s. From that time until the mid-1990s, the derelict synagogue served as a repository of neighbourhood rubbish, and invariably as a chicken pen, dog kennel and storeroom.
http://www.etz-hayyim-hania.org/

Unfortunately, although it was supposed to be open for visitors, the door was locked, and only a recorded message was broadcast on the speakerphone. Therefore, I could not visit this interesting place and this front door is the only thing I could see.

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Additional Photos by Aleksandar Dekanski (dekanski) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 321 W: 129 N: 1522] (9251)
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