Rethymnon old town
The town of Rethymnon is a small town that retains a strong medieval and Renaissance color. Stroll through the alleys of the historic center, you will find many Venetian and Turkish monuments. From the Venetian harbor and its famous lighthouse to the Venetian Fortress Fortezza. This is the Venetian castle that dominates the hill of Paleokastro, in the heart of the city and is famous for being the largest Venetian castle ever built. In its facilities, many of which remain in good condition to date, included barracks, a church, a hospital, warehouses, the Councilors’ residence, the Rector’s residence, and a luxurious and magnificent building on the main square of the fortress. There in the fortress of Fortezza, the Rethymnon Renaissance Festival takes place in the summer and as an attraction and venue for cultural events, it is an attraction for many visitors to Rethymnon. There are many sights in the city such as the famous Loggia with its arched facades, the Church of the Lady of the Angels, the church of Saint Francis, the Rimondi Fountain with its three lion-shaped hydrants, built in 1626 by Rector Rimonti,the Metropolitan Temple, the Neratzes Mosque etc. A stop at the Archaeological – Folklore Museum of Rethymno, which has been in existence since 1887 and is housed in a pentagonal Ottoman building, built to protect the entrance to the eastern gate of Fortezza, is necessary. The museum exhibits findings from the first Minoan, Middle Minoan and Late Minoan times, such as tools, vessels, ceramics, weapons, jewelry, seals, and clay figurines, including the clay figurine of a female figure known as the “goddess with raised hands”. There are also various objects and works of classical, Hellenistic and Roman art e.g. gold jewelry, glass vessels, sculptures and coins collection. The Archaeological Museum is open from 08:30 until 15:00 every day except Mondays.
Holy Monastery of Arkadi
One of the most important Monasteries of Crete is the Holy Monastery of Arkadi, located 23 kilometers from Rethymnon, at a strategic location on the northwestern slope of Mount Idi. The name of the monastery comes from the Byzantine Emperor Arcadius and the year of its establishment goes back to the 5th century. The Arkadi Monastery became known worldwide thanks to its intense participation in the liberation struggles, culminating in the siege and sacrifice of the encamped defenders on November 8, 1866, who were bled alive in order not to surrender to the Turks. This event is known in History as the “Holocaust of the Arkadi Monastery” and has therefore been designated by UNESCO the European Monument to Freedom. After the disaster, the monastery was completely rebuilt and restored to its original form, though the half-burned altarpiece on the left of the Holy Bank and a cannon ball wedged in cypresses testify to its history. Visitors can admire the two-story temple in the center of the monastery dedicated to Saint Constantine and the Transfiguration of the Savior, which was built in the 16th century, the chapel of St. Arcadius, the museum of the monastery that hosts relics dating back to its founding and the pyrotechnical site where the drama of 1866 took place. The sacred banner of the revolution as well as other heirlooms such as ecclesiastical utensils, golden vestments and weapons are kept in the monastery’s museum. The impressive architecture combines Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements. The monastery celebrates on 21 May, 6 August and 8 November, on the anniversary of the Holocaust. At the Exhibition that used to be the wine store, you can get souvenirs and pictures from the monastery.
Margarites village, Rethymnon
It is located at the northern foot of Psiloritis, at an altitude of 300 meters and 27 km from Rethymnon. It is characterized as the village of Pitharades ,since the pottery tradition and creation of its inhabitants is evident in every corner. In the village of Margarites you will walk through streets with large clay pots – the famous margaritsianes pitchers – outside each house, ceramic hanging on the walls and jars adorning the flowered gardens. At the Museum of Ceramics, in the village square, you can admire the large collection of ceramics that showcases the art of the locals. Follow the trail leading to the canyon, through beautiful paths, or enjoy the view of the canyon from the park to the south of the village.