Domus Renier Boutique Hotel History

“ have been there…”

(He brought a lot, did a lot and studied a lot, our sweet father, he sweated and strained. May he rest in eternal peace, 1608)

These words, inscribed over the impressive arched entrance gate of the Renier Townhouse, suggest a lot about the values of the Renier family. Doges, politicians, diplomats, army commanders and countesses have lived and died, loved and hated, pulled political strings and ruled from the rooms of this very townhouse.

“...and there you will always long to return...” - Leonardo Da Vinci

Today, after 5 centuries, the historical Renier townhouse experiences its own renaissance, lending the old town of Chania a breath of authentic beauty. The 9 rooms and suites at Domus Renier Boutique Hotel Chania possess a unique and special character, just like the people that once lived there.

Portraits of the Renier family, the owners of the Venetian townhouse that became Domus Renier Hotel

Venetian Domination

A historical map of Venetian era Chania old town & port, the location of Domus Renier Boutique HotelThe Venetians bought Crete in 1204 and their domination came to an end in 1699, when they were definitely ousted by the next conqueror, the Ottomans. To establish its rule on the island, though, the Serenissima had to fight for eight years against the Genoan Count of Malta, who had previously managed to occupy it. When they finally took control, the Venetians named the island Regno Di Candia ("Kingdom of Crete").

Cretans, being Greek Orthodox Christians, did not voluntarily accept Venetian domination. For almost two centuries they fought for their country, claiming their freedom with 27 successive revolutions. In 1252 the Venetians crushed the last of them by use of brutal military force and subsequently set about leaving their mark on the island, in various ways. With their wonderful architecture they filled the city with walls, towers, gates, monasteries, magnificent palaces, underground exits and entrances. Just take a stroll in the old town of Chania and you will witness this time-defying beauty.

In 1644, a year before the town succumbed to the Turks, only 27 families still possessed titles of Venetian Nobility (Nobilitatem Venetam). The Reniers or Renieris, as they are called today, are the only ones preserving their surname to this day.


Cretan Renaissance

Dormition of the Virgin by Cretan artist El Greco & painting from the romantic play ErotokritosUnder Venetian control Crete became one of the most important artistic centers. From one end to the other, the island enjoys Cretan Renaissance, an era of economic, commercial and cultural growth.

During this period, the Cretan School of Hagiography emerges, priding itself on the early works of Domenikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco), Michail Damaskinos, Theophanes the Cretan and Georgios Klontzas. Their work traveled throughout the Orthodox East.

Literature, theater, poetry and music also reach their apogee as George Hortatzis writes "Erofili" (a Cretan tragedy) and Vitsentzos Kornaros writes "Erotokritos"(a romantic theatrical play). Francis Leontaritis composes western style music.



Find out more about the history of Crete