The massive naval aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman docked at Souda Bay, Crete on Thursday and will remain off the coast of the island until January 3.
The Harry S Truman, which was named after the thirty-third US president, was first launched in 1996. It is the eighth of the ten Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in the US Navy.
USS Harry S. Truman in Souda Bay, Crete
The ship’s length measures at a stunning 1,092 feet (333 meters), and, when at its full capacity, it weighs over 100,000 tons.
The massive aircraft carrier can host 90 fighter planes and contains 2,500 cabins that can hold 6,500 people. The massive ship also contains gyms, a museum, and a post office.
The vessel was the largest ever built until the USS Gerald Ford was launched in 2017.
Crete’s Naval Base, located at Souda Bay, is the only deep water port suitable for such large aircraft carriers in southern Europe and in all of the Mediterranean Sea. The only other similar bases available to the US Navy are the Norfolk, Virginia Naval Station, the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in the state of Washington and the naval base in Dubai.
The base is the second largest base for the Hellenic Navy and the largest and most important naval base for NATO in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The historic city of Chania
While the ship is at port near the city of Chania, the nearly 5,000 members of its crew will be able to explore the stunning city and its surroundings.
Byzantine, Venetian, and Ottoman buildings coexist in the landscape of the city of Chania. As far as Muslim architecture is concerned, one of the most emblematic corners of the city is the famous Mosque of the Janissaries.
The mix of architectural styles make for a stimulating but still largely harmonious skyline. However, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to Chania’s history; the town has likely been inhabited since the end of the Stone Age, or the Neolithic period.
Excavations near and within the city have revealed some of its history to modern day Greeks, and archaeologists have been able to find evidence of the city’s Minoan history as well as its more distant past. The modern-day city lies on the site of the Minoan settlement named Kydonia, which acted as a namesake for the fruit called the quince.
The first era of Byzantine rule lasted from 395–824 AD, and then the city was briefly ruled by the Arabs for around a century. They renamed the city “Al Hanim” (the Inn) before it was retaken by the Byzantine Empire, which reverted back to calling the city by its Greek name, Chania.
After the Fourth Crusade, in 1204, and the fall of Byzantium in the Hellenic era, the city was once again conquered by foreign powers. This time, Venice begun to rule over Chania, renaming it “La Canea” and strengthening its fortifications, giving Chania the form that it still has today.