Rethymno - What to see
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Rethymno is surrounded by the sea from the north. Rethymno's beach (S. Venizelou and Ari Velouhioti streets) is spreading from the centre of
the town, along the new part, for 12km to the east. To the west, starts the palm-lined promenade (El. Venizelou St.), with parallelly one block
back going Arkadiou St., both leading to the picturesque old Venetian port of Rethymno and continuing (through the town's harbour) to a rocky shore, along the Venetian fortress. From the promenade going inside the town, there is the old town of Rethymno, with narrow streets, Venetian and Turkish houses, minarets and fountains. The old part ends at Porta Guora and continues with newer buildings to the south, up to the hills.
The beautiful beach of Rethymno, is the main -and sometimes the
exclusive- attraction for the visitors. But there are some interesting
monuments and sights to visit:
- Fortezza castle. (Daily, from 9am to
sunset). At the place where the ancient acropolis was, one of the
largest Venetian castles, overlooking the sea and the town. It was
built in the 16th century to protect the population of the town against
the pirate raids. Inside, where once a big number of buildings could be
found, now only some tanks and a mosque (before a Catholic church) with
a very big cupola, stay almost intact. These remains, as well as the
view of the town and the coast, make it necesssary to visit. The walk
along it, from the side of the sea, at sunset, offers a glorious view
of its impressive defending walls and ramparts, -that become
illuminated at night, together with romantic images of the coast.
- The Venetian harbour. Originally built
in the 13th century, it is one of the most picturesque spots in
- Rimondi fountain. Rebuilt in 1626, on
the foundations of the older one to provide the population with
drinkable water, it is rich in architectural and sculptural decoration.
- Loggia. At the corner of Arkadiou St.
and Paleologou St., it was built in the middle of the 16th century as a
gathering place of the nobility, for politics, economics or
entertainment. The building is one of the characterisic examples of
Renaissance architecture in Rethymno. During the turkish occupation it
was converted into a mosque. Recently it was renovated to become the
Archaeological Museum Shop.
- Saint Francisco's church. The church of the Franciscan order's monastery, with nice architecture and a richly decorated door.
- Neratzes mosque.The largest of the five
surviving mosques from the original eight. Previously the Santa Maria
church, it was converted into a mosque from the Turks. It is topped
with three cupolas and today it is used as a music conservatory. Next
to the mosque there is the impressive minaret, built at 1890. The view
from the top cannot be enjoyed, since the entrance is not allowed for
- Kara Mousa Pasa Mosque. At the end of
Arkadiou St., where before was a venetian monastery. Today it is the
house of the Restoration Board.
- Veli Pasa Mosque and its minaret. It was
surrounded by an islamic monastery, of which 13 continous cells have
been preserved. In the future it will probably host a permament
exchibition of physiology.
- Porta Guora. The entrance to the town
during the Venetian occupation and the only remnant of the defensive
wall. In the beginning of Ethnikis Antistaseos St.
- The Municipal Garden. At P. Kountourioti
Ave., open all day. In summer it hosts the Wine Festival.
- The Archaeological museum of Rethymno
(8am to 3pm, closed on Monday), just opposite the entrance of the
fortress, exhibits objects from the Neolithic to the Roman period,
found at the prefecture of Rethymno. Clay figurines, funerary coffers,
grave offerings, statues, grave steles, red-figure vases, bronze
vessels, jewellery and glass vases, are some of the objects on display.
- Rethymno Centre of Contemporary Art, at
5, Himaras St.,below Fortezza, houses a permanent collection of modern
local and Greek art. Since 1995 the gallery and the town of Rethymno
have become a part of the National Cultural Network, set up to promote
contemporary visual arts within an international framework. The gallery
regularly organises or hosts exhibitions of Greek and foreign artists.
Tel. 0030 2831 55847, 52530, 52689. Fax: 0030 2831 52689. e-mail:
email@example.com, http://www.rca.gr. Open: 1 April-31 October:
Tuesday-Friday 9:00-13:00, 19:00-22:00, Saturday-Sunday 11:00-15:00, 1
November-31 March: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9:00-14:00, Wednesday
9:00-14:00, 17:00-21:00, Saturday 9:00-15:00.
- The Historical and Folk Art museum of Rethymno,
in a 17th century restored Venetian building, at 28-30, M. Vernardou
St., just after Neratzes mosque. The museum is a non profit foundation,
aiming to the research, collection and representation of the unique and
exceptional rural and urban life of the Cretan people since the
seventeenth century. It houses a folcloric collection of everyday-life
objects, plus works of traditional art, in the likes of weaving,
embroidery, lace, pottery, jewellery, farming, basketry, metal work,
smith's tools and cooking. The historical collection consists of
photographs, drawings, documents, coins and weapons. Tel.: 0030 28310
23398 - Fax: 0030 28310 23667
- The Marine museum displays shells,
sponges and fish.
- The Ecclesiastical Museum houses the old
watch of the cathedral, garments, disks, coins, etc.
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Last updated: 30 May 2009