Rethymno is on Crete’s north shore situated between Chania (60km to the west) and Heraklion (80km to the east) There is a 12km long sand beach at the eastern end (one of the largest in Crete), and at the western end there is a rockier coastline that provides a dramatic atmosphere . Rethymno is the centre for commercial and administrative dealings, for the whole area which has over 25,000 residents. The port/harbour is open year round, it has ferries sailing regularly to Piraeus on the mainland. During the summer months, it’s easily possible to take a boat trip to Santorini island from Rethymno. The islands bus service is an great way to tour round the island, catch a bus and take a culture trip, as the bus service passes through the smaller villages.
History of Rethymno
The city is situated on remains of an ancient Mycean city called “Rithymna”, But It lost importance around the 3rd century AD. But Rithymna kept hold of its autonomy and independence, Rithymna still produced its own coins. The town continued to be inhabited throughout the Byzantine period, some mosaics from the Roman and byzantine era’s have been found on the site. When the Venetian’s were in occupation, Rethymno was awarded city status, There was need for an intermediary port by the Venetians, situated between Chania and Heraklion, and so Rethymno was the choice due to it’s location. Rethymno became the 3rd largest city on the island when it was theVenetian administrative centre for culture. Algerian pirates burned and robbed Rethymno In 1567 , completely destroying almost all of the city. In 1646, Turks ruled over Rethymno, within the period of Ottoman rule, lots of towns and cities fell into decline and dis-repair, this included Rethymno,and the whole island struggled for independence. The inhabitants were involved in the fight for freedom. many of the area’s freedom-fighters were executed. The Russian army were in control of Rethymno during 1897 to 1909. In 1913 the island of Crete was integrated with the rest of Greece. During the German occupation period, the people of Rethymno were active fighting partners in the resistance. Rethymno’s grown in the past 25 years, it’s economy has flourished thanks to the tourism industry, the culture is also benefiting because of the university based in the town. Rethymno has an old aristocratic appeal, search out it’s Byzantine and Hellenic-Roman remains, or have a wander through,narrow streets and alleys, arched doorways and old staircases of stone, admire the 16th century buildings and the little, pretty Venetian harbour. The stunning 16th century Venetian Loggia, it was originally a club for gentlemen! it is now used as the office for the ministry of culture. It sells the entrance tickets for the museum of archaeology. On the “Palaiokastro”The Venetian Fortezza castle, dominates the town. It ‘s construction in the late 16th century was to protect Rethymno from pirate raids and the Turks. “Palaiokastro” translated is “old Castle” it was adopted by the Venetian’s which leads us to believe that there was a castle on the site before the Venetian fortezza was built. The old castle would have been the acropolis for the old town of Rithymna. In the Fortezza, there was a central plaza, with a glorious house overlooking it, this would have been the residence for the Rector; there was also storerooms used for the artillery, it would house canons and other weapons. There was also a house, for 1 of the 2 Venetian councellors, various parts of the houses can still be seen. You get wonderful views of the town, from the fortezza, be it day or night. The “Erofili”, municipal theatre, can also be found at the Fortezza. The “Erofili”, an outdoor theatre that shows many performances during the Renaissance Festival. The elaborately decorated Rimondi fountain is found at the hub of the Venetian town. it is situated in Platanos square. The fountain, built by A. Rimondi (hence the name) in 1626, provided drinkable water to the inhabitant’s. The Holy Virgin church was changed by the Ottomans, into the Neratzes mosque . But now it is used as a music conservatory, the best architectural parts of this building have to be the triple domes, and also the doorframe. The minaret sited near to the Neratzes mosque was constructed in 1890. The Turks also turned a Venetian monastery into mosque, it is the Kara Mousa Pasa Mosque. It is now used as the home for the board of restoration. The “Porta Guora”. The only remaining part of the defensive wall is the gateway to the old Venetian town. If you wish for tranquility, then visit the municipal gardens, Many activities are organised and heldwithin the beautiful gardens through the year, in July every year, there’s a popular wine festival thats held in the gardens, and on 7-8th of Nov there’s another festival in memoriam to the destroying of the Arkadi Monastery. Rethymno can cater for all visitors, whether it’s business or for pleasure. There’s a good range of Night-life around the old town, around the harbour, it can get quite intense. If you just fancy a quiet drink and relaxing, then try a bar at the beachfront. You will always find yummy fresh fish at the many tavernas sitting around the harbour, Or maybe try the restaurants and tavernas up the backstreets, you can get a tasty lunch or dinner at a fair price. There is also plenty of shops to visit in the old town, maybe pick up some souvenirs, for your family and friends back home.