Region of Crete
You cannot walk through the central Eleftherias Square without admiring the imposing building of the ‘Region of Crete’ former Perfecture of Heraklion.
The city’s pride was first constructed in the 16th century
The first building housed the Venetian Barracks and was built in 1583. The structure was divided into a row of 150 rooms and would accommodate approximately 700 soldiers.
The east and north sides of the barracks. 1920 -1930 (Historical Museum of Crete SCHS Heraklion – image courtesy of history.heraklion.gr)
The Ottomans renovated the Barracks and used them as their Kislades
In 1856, after a major earthquake, a big part of the barracks was destroyed and the Ottomans decided to construct a new building. They commissioned Athanassions Moussis to design the building.
The new barracks housed four battalions of janissaries, 23 smaller units of locals, armories, stables as well jails, dormitories and more underground.
The Turks would refer to this building as ‘Kislades’ from kışla, which means “barracks”.
High School in 1921
For a brief time, during the autonomy of Crete, the British military headquarters were housed in the building. Shortly thereafter, the first section (visible from Eleftherias Square) turned into Heraklion’s second high school in 1921.
Heraklion Gymnasion (High School) by Yiorgos I. Panayiotakis (credits to history.heraklion.gr)
Wooden floors and roofs were replaced with concrete slabs and the facades of the buildings were reconstructed in neoclassical style.
In the current days the complex which consists of three separate buildings and extends on Dikaiosinis Avenue, houses the Region of Crete, The city Courts and the Police.
Find Region of Crete on the map
Here’s a Google Review by local guide Yannis Samatas
Ιστορικό κτίριο, όπου τον καιρό των Ενετών εδώ υπήρχαν οι Στρατώνες του Αγίου Γεωργίου. Καταστράφηκαν από μεγάλο σεισμό το 1856 και στη θέση του οι Τούρκοι κατασκεύασαν το 1883 νέους στρατώνες (κισλάδες) σε σχέδιο του Αθανάσιου Μούση. Μετά την απελευθέρωση εδώ στεγάστηκε το Γυμνάσιο Ηρακλείου, ενώ το 1920 ο αρχιτεκτονας Δημήτρης Κυριακού το μετέτρεψε σε διοικητήριο. Μέχρι πρόσφατα εδώ στεγάζονταν η Νομαρχία Ηρακλείου, αλλά σήμερα στεγάζει την Περιφέρεια Κρήτης και τα Δικαστήρια. Στους παλιότερους Ηρακλειώτες πάντως εξακολουθεί να είναι γνωστό σαν κτίριο της Νομαρχίας η απλά “Νομαρχία”.
(Translated by Google)
Historical building, where the time of the Venetians here there were the barracks of Saint George. Destroyed by earthquake in 1856 and the position of the Turks in 1883 built new barracks (kislades) a plan of Athanasios Moussis. After release here housed Heraklion High School, and in 1920 the architect Dimitris Kyriakou turned into headquarters. Until recently here housed the Prefecture of Heraklion, but now houses the Region of Crete and the Courts. In older locals, however, it is still known as the Prefecture building or simply “Prefecture”.