Cretan Cities

Rethymnon

Rethymno is the most representative sample of a Cretan Renaissance city.

Rethymnon is the third largest city of Crete with a population of about 30000, built on the site of ancient Rithymna (4-5th century BC). After the Byzantine era, Rethymnon was fortified and further strengthened by the Venetians.

The old town is one of the nicest attractions for visitors to Crete, who have the ability to roam in the past. The town with the quaint streets and the beautiful monuments reserves its Venetian and Ottoman hues, as it was not altered by the modern era. In contrast to Heraklion and Chania, Rethymnon preserved mainly a Greek Renaissance character, as most nobles during the Venetian Period were Greeks.

Near the old town with the narrow streets, the visitor shall visit the largest fortress in Crete, the majestic Fortezza. Other attractions include the small Venetian harbor with the lighthouse, Venetian Loggia, Rimondi Fountain, Rethymno Park, Santa Maria, History Museum, Nerantza Mosque, St. Francis Basilica, Great Gate (Porta Guora), Mosque of Kara Musa Pasha and Venetian mansions in Street Arkadi. Finally, visitors can enjoy their bath in the vast sandy beach starting east of the port of Rethymnon.

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History: The Castle of Rethymno
Till the Byzantine Era, the modern city of Rethymnon was a small and insignificant dorp. This settlement was easily occupied by the Arabs, but became a town only during the Venetian Occupation. The Venetians were dealing mainly with marine trade, thus they needed a port between Chania and Heraklion for stopping their galleys, running along the shores of north Crete. For this reason, they transformed the small bay of Mandraki, located east of the rocky hill of today’s Fortezza, to a...
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Religious monuments in Rethymnon city
Rethymnon during the Venetian occupation hosted a large number of churches, the number varying according to sources, from 23 to 46. Most temples were Christian Orthodox, few of them are preserved today, and many were turned to mosques during the Ottoman era. The oldest surviving Christian temples are Agia Paraskevi, which today houses the Institute of Mediterranean Studies of the Foundation of Technology and Research, and Agia Sophia, used by the Ministry of Culture.
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Rethymno Lighthouse

The lighthouse of the Venetian harbor of Rethymno is the second largest remaining Egyptian lighthouse in Crete, after the lighthouse of Chania harbor. It is built on the edge of the old sea wall of Rethymnon and it can be accessed very easily.

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