Venetian Loggia – Heraklion Town Hall
The Loggia (from the Italian word for “lodge“) is one of the most important buildings of the Venetian period in Crete. It was a kind of gentleman’s club, where the rich nobles and lords gathered. The building was built after 1541 probably with designs by Michel Sammicheliin Palladian style.
It was then rebuilt in its current form after 1628 by Francisco Morosini. Other monuments that carry Morosini’s signature are the Fountain of Morosini (commonly referred to as the “Lions” and the construction of the aqueduct that made it possible for the city of Heraklion to have water. This was the final of four Loggias, and very little information is available for the previous three or why the buildings didn’t survive. The Loggia was the centre of all economic and social life in the city, where gentlemen would gather to discuss politics, or relax and socialize. During the Middle Ages, most Italian cities had established “Loggias”. We also find a Loggia in the city of Rethymno, which used to house the Archaeological Museum for almost 40 years. The design is often characterized by a square building with an open arched design that looks over the plaza.
During the Turkish occupation, it was used as an armoury and suffered severe damage. It wasn’t after the Cretan State was established, in 1915, that renovations would start to take place, however, the onset of World War II in 1940 prevented any future work. In 1961, the final restoration of the monument began, which was completed shortly after 1979. In 1961, the final restoration of the monument began, which was completed shortly after 1979. Today the Loggia houses the City Hall and has received awards for the best-renovated monument in the country. It is one of the most important monuments in the city of Heraklion, together with the churches of Saint Minas, Saint Titos, Saint Catherine and Saint Peter, the Venetian Walls, the Tomb of Nikos Kazantzakis and Morosini (or Lion’s) Fountain. Both the church of Saint Titos and St. Mark’s Basilica are in close walking distance. Cultural events and exhibitions often take place on the premises.