Kokkini Chani is a coastal tourist resort, 14 km east of Heraklion, which is part of the Hersonissos Municipality. The inhabitants are primarily engaged in tourism and agriculture.
The settlement of Kokkini Chani has its origins before 1896 when residents from the surrounding villages (Anopolis, Elia and Kato Vatheia) began to cultivate the land they had in the wider coastal area. Their occupation, as well as the need to serve the wayfarers from and to the city of Heraklion mainly due to the “Kako Oros” (a mountain between Kokkini Chani and Amnissos of particular morphology) and the dangers that the passers-by have been in (because of the bandits) resulted in the construction of inns known as “Chania” in Greek language. Of all these Chania (inns), the best known were the Chatzi Chani and mainly Kokkini Chani because the exchange of postal bags and the change of guards, concerning the convicts who were transferred from prefecture to prefecture, took place. Kokkini Chani was owned by Dimitrios Kokkinis, a nephew of the Merabellos leader, Emmanuel Kokkinis (1826-1897). Dimitrios Kokkinis inherited Kokkini Chani in 1850 from his father George. The whole area was formerly called “Armilides” or “Nirou Chani” before it took its present name.
The area was an important Minoan center throughout the Minoan Era. There, a Minoan settlement was located, while it was discovered a Minoan, two-story mansion, known as “Megaro Nirou” (Nirou mansion), which impressed with its size as it was extended to 1000 square meters and had about forty rooms, a sacred place, warehouses with two corridors and courtyards. The number of altars and ritual tools that were found shows that it was a priest’s residence. At the beach of the settlement there were various buildings and there was probably a completed shipyard of the time.
The tourism sector has grown rapidly in this area over the last decades. There are supermarkets, seasonal shops, cafes and taverns on the main road that passes through the village. Kokkini Chani is one of the most famous resorts of Crete with modern luxury tourist units while there are all categories of accommodation, furnished apartments and many rooms for rent.