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The port of Souda

The port of Souda is located on the southern side of Souda Bay, just 6 km away from Chania and south of the Akrotiri peninsula. It is the second largest port of Crete, after Heraklion. It serves, commercial, cruise ships and ferries, domestic and international ships. It is a natural harbor, and because of this, it is a safe shelter from the weather. Because of its strategic location, it is on the path that connects Gibraltar and Suez, the Red Sea and the Atlantic.

At night, entry is prohibited, and all activities start again in the morning. Ships are not allowed to approach the northern part because of the naval and military bases.

The history of the port of Souda begins with the Turks who recognized it as a natural port and in 1873 they built their first naval station for their warships. Until then, it served the commercial and passenger needs of the city of Chania. In the interwar period, when the need for a larger port increased, the Chairman of the Chania Trade Association proposed to utilize the port of Souda, and not to expand the existing one in Chania, because there were ready-made warehouses and there was no need for a pier due to the Naval Station. The location of the port could also serve Rethymnon, which was closer. So, at first, English seaplane flights started carrying passengers and mail and later the passenger ships started to dock.

The Navy established facilities at Souda in the 1920s for communications and the defense of the bay. After the Second World War, the Headquarters of the Cretan and Ionian Seas was organized and operated. In 1952 Souda started functioning as a military base and in 1992 as a Naval Station. Today, it supports the docking of warships, their supply and maintenance. It also covers the feeding and accommodation needs of the personnel of the ships being repaired, provides sea water for use in the fire and sanitation networks, etc.


The Souda base is an American military base in Crete. It is a very important strategic point because the US can control all of the eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East, the Black Sea and the Red Sea. The Americans control it with their own personnel, materials, offices, personnel and ammunition. They have two facilities for the good operation of the base, the air facility in Mouzouras village and the naval facility in Marathi where all the warships of the allies are located. From this base, troops were sent to the Iraq war in 1991 and Afghanistan in 2003.

It is the Americans΄ one of the most favorite bases for many reasons, nuclear powered aircraft carriers and submarines are moored at berth 14, it is the base for the special force seals and the NATO missile firing installation. Also, the crews can enjoy relaxation and entertainment in the nearby cities of Souda and Chania. Many American politicians visit the Base from time to time. President George Bush Senior visited Souda once and when he left, he was given two tins of extra virgin olive oil as a gift.

(More articles about Crete on www.gomega.gr)