Rethymno, Crete

The Cretan town of Rethymno or Rethimno has existed, in peace, since antiquity. Many historical sites and buildings have been very well preserved. It is the site of one of the best kept castles in Greece.

Rethymno in Crete, Greece o is a town of about 4000 people, located on the island of Crete. The town has existed here since antiquity, but because of its location it was never the focus of fighting and uprisings, and so has a more gentler history than other Cretan cities in Greece.

In ancient times, Rethymno minted its own coins. One coin still in existence shows a city crest of two dolphins in a circle.

Rethymno Crete began growing from a settlement to a city when it became an important stop for Venetian conquerors making their way from the city of Iraklion Crete to the city of Chania Crete in Greece. This was after the Fourth Crusade in the early 1200’s.

The old town of Rethymno Greece is almost entirely Venetian. It is one of the best preserved towns in all of Crete Greece. Many of the Cretan buildings from the 1500’s, with their arched doorways and stone staircases, are still used. The old town still has narrow streets winding their way down to the harbors in Crete.

Today the serenity found in its history is found in town. There is a large city garden where friends, neighbors and guests gather for shade and tranquility. Because of its history, Rethymno has the Fortetza castle, a Venetian castle that is one of the largest, best preserved castles in all Greece. The Fortetza castle in Crete was built in 1573 to protect the town. Original walls, churches and buildings remain, as does the panoramic, sweeping view of the Mediterranean Sea. It is still possible to walk the harbor wall to an old lighthouse.

The old town is in close proximity to long, sandy beaches. In fact a ferry delivers visitors right into the old town. In exploring the city, guest have the choice of heading toward the modern, well developed strip of large hotels, or of finding the quiet, intimate places in the more romantic old town.

Rethymno, Crete is where one will find the Philosophical School and University Library of the University of Crete. The School of Social and Political Sciences is also here.

Rethymno blends old and new. Minarets and mosques surviving since the time of Turkish occupation are near shops. The main minaret is used today as a music school. The noted Rimondi Fountain sits next to a cafe. Gifts shops offering herbs, cosmetics, books, jewelry and pottery lure shoppers into the colorful, buzzing streets.

Rethymno is noted for an open air market held on Thursdays. Rethymnon is noted for wine tasting, offering more than 460 different Greek wines or may we say Crete or Cretan wines. The city is noted for hosting the largest Carnival celebration in all of Crete Island.

The city is surrounded by gorges, monasteries, old villages and ancient churches. Residents and guest alike love to travel into the outlying hills to get a full view of the city.

Guests include a species besides the typical human traveler. Every summer, from June through August, sea turtles return home to Rethymnon to lay eggs on their natal beaches in Crete. Here are also a couple of more travel tips which can help you out while visiting Greece.

Article by S Pappas

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