What to See in Rethymno, Crete Island (Greece)

According to CLOTHINGEXPRESS, Rethymnon is located on the northern coast of Crete, 78 km west of Heraklion. Settlements on the site of the modern city of Rethymnon already existed in Minoan times, but the city owes its true flourishing to the Venetians, who built here a romantic port city that has retained its charm to this day.

The old look of Rethymno has survived to this day: narrow streets, Venetian buildings and Turkish mosques. Among the most notable buildings are the fortress of Fortez (1574), from the walls of which a beautiful view of the sea and the Ida mountain range opens; Great Gate, left over from the Venetian fortress (1540-1570); fountain of Rimondi (XVII century); Venetian Loggia (XVI century), which was a meeting place for the city’s nobility. Currently, the Archaeological Museum is located in the Loggia, which stores the most valuable finds discovered in the region, and one of the most important numismatic collections. The city also houses the Historical and Ethnographic Museum, the Ecclesiastical Museum, the Collection of Elena Franceskaki with examples of sewing and jewelry crafts, the Gallery of Modern Art (Kanakakis Pinakothek) and the Maritime Museum with a collection of bizarre shells, sea sponges, etc. The busiest place in Rethymno is the promenade with a large number of cafes, taverns, shops and souvenir shops. Nightlife in the city is diverse – from noisy discos to quiet cafes on the seashore.

Every year the city hosts a carnival. It was first held in 1915, and by the 50s. it has become one of the landmarks of Rethymno. The holiday lasts three weeks before Lent. His first day is called “Serenade Day”. Masked men walk the streets singing to the accompaniment of a lute or mandolin as handfuls of confetti rain down on them from balconies. On one of the days, the game “Treasure Island” is held, during which the participants try to find a specially hidden treasure. The program of carnival celebrations includes theatrical performances, graffiti festival, performance of street artists, open-air ball, party for those who take part in the search for treasures, Pancake Day (Tsiknopemti) in the Old Town, children’s carnival, evening procession, big dance evening for carnival participants, games, troubadours with guitars and mandolins. On the last Sunday, a parade is held, during which small theatrical performances are played. Rethymno is, without a doubt, the chariot parade on the main street of the city, with over 4,000 people in beautiful uniforms and hand-made carriages with great taste, craftsmanship and invention.

The resort is known for the longest sandy strip in Crete, located in its northern part and having a length of 15 km. Some of the beaches are equipped with umbrellas and sunbeds, some of them have the Blue Flag award. Right on the city beach you can see the church of St. Nicholas, built in the sea. A thin stone path leads to it.

A 20-minute drive from Rethymno, on the slopes of one of the mountains of the Ida massif, is the monastery of Arkadi. It was founded in the 16th century. and is an example of Renaissance architecture in Crete. The monastery played an important role during the national liberation struggle against Turkish rule. The brethren of Arcadia and the Cretan peasants who joined them, together with their wives and children, gave a decisive rebuff to the Turkish army of 15,000 soldiers. After a two-day siege of the monastery, at the moment when the Turks were storming the monastery walls, the gunpowder stores of the rebels were blown up. Hundreds of people died – both Turkish soldiers and the defenders of the monastery, who preferred death to enemy captivity. Arcadia has become a symbol of the love of freedom of Crete. The impressive monastic ensemble consists of fraternal buildings with chapels, an extensive refectory arranged for a large number of pilgrims, and a monastic catholicon. The fraternal buildings are the oldest part of the monastery, although it underwent significant alterations, mainly in the 18th century. In the left corner of the courtyard are the ruins of a wine cellar that served as a powder flask and was blown up in 1866. The church has preserved its ornate fa├žade with twin columns, classic-looking portals and a double pediment without damage or rebuilding. The main decoration of the austere church hall is a three-tiered carved iconostasis.

Rethymno, Crete Island (Greece)