Rethymno town - the jewel of Crete and the cultural heart

The Architectural Heritage - Between Venetian Sophistication and Ottoman Opulence

 Located approximately halfway between Heraklion, and Chania, Rethymnon or Rethymno is the seat town of the administrative region of the same name and one of the most popular resorts on the northern coast. Built on a peninsula that juts almost 700 meters into the sea, Rethymno is enveloped by the enchanting blue of the Mediterranean and guarded to the south by Vrysina Peak (858 m), offering magnificent scenery in every direction you look.

 Not only for its picturesque natural setting but also for its cultural richness, Rethymno is the perfect destination for an unforgettable holiday. The confluence of medieval Venetian architecture with Ottoman and traditional Cretan architecture is fascinating, creating a veritable map of unmissable tourist attractions in the city's modern identity.

 You can start exploring the city by visiting the Fortezza, the well-preserved 16th-century fortress that guards the old town, and then descend to the citadel's heart. With its Venetian-influenced architecture and the cobweb of streets that hide old houses converted into restaurants, cafes, bars, boutiques, and art galleries, and with its small squares adorned with fountains, statues, and monuments, the historic city looks entirely like a medieval gem. Among the remaining buildings from the Ottoman period, the Neratze Mosque with its towering minaret leaves its oriental mark in the urban spectacle as a testimony of the multicultural past.

 One of the most attractive places is the Venetian port, lined with elegant taverns and terraces, from where you can admire the multicolored fishing boats and the Egyptian lighthouse, a famous tourist landmark of the city. While the city's alleys are a real invitation to stroll and shop, especially in the evening, the Municipal Park, organized as a botanical garden, offers a green oasis during the day where the locals retreat to the shade and hang out with friends.

 Rethymno is blessed with one of the longest beaches and the finest sand on the island where, after a lazy day in the sun, the ultimate pleasure is a walk with bare feet, bathed in the romantic light of dusk. From the vicinity of the old port, the central beach stretches to the east, a 4 km long strip of sand, well laid out and never too crowded. The beach extends from the city to the village of Skaleta, covering a distance of 12 km.

 Rethymno is recognized by historians as the heart of the Cretan Renaissance and has been declared a protected historical area and a traditional settlement. It is also referred to as the cultural capital of Crete. The Museum of Archaeology displays precious artifacts dating from the Neolithic to the Roman Era, while the Museum of Ethnography and Folklore features numerous collections and temporary exhibitions. Cultural event enthusiasts can enjoy the Renaissance Festival, which takes place in October, including theater and classical music concerts, symphony orchestra, and choir concert programs. Additionally, the cheerful Apokries Carnival Parade, preceding the Orthodox Lent, is much-loved by locals and visitors alike.

 To appreciate, the Municipality promotes a healthy tourist development, by pursuing the preservation of the historical vestiges and cultural heritage and encouraging and promoting the traditional hospitality of the inhabitants, so that any visitor feels at home and falls in love with this amazing city, from the very first moment.

Rethymno, the Citadel of Dramatic Past and Rich Cultural Heritage 

 Historically attested from the abundant post-Minoan period (1350-1250 BC) as "Rithymna", the city - as the whole island - had experienced throughout the centuries, a dramatic history, full of battles, sieges, revolts, and massacres, in which the Roman, Arab, Byzantine and later, Venetian and Ottoman invaders, each left a distinct imprint on the local architecture and cultural heritage.

 It seems that the city of Rethymno managed to be reborn, like the legendary Phoenix bird, after two unfortunate historical events: first time, in 1571, in the flourishing Venetian era, when it suffered a violent piracy attack, resulting in a fire that destroyed almost the entire city and, the second time, in the context of the Second World War, when German Nazi army bombed it, in a turning point confrontations that history records today as The Battle for Crete, May 20-June 1941.

 Today, thanks to the development of the tourism and hospitality industry, Rethymno's old city flourished again and attracts visitors from all over the world all year round.

Welcome to Rethymno!

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