Rethymno is one of the most well-preserved medieval cities, not only in Greece but also in the entire Mediterranean. Built on the sites of ancient Rithymna (5th – 4th century BC), the Old Town of Rethymno was over the centuries a crossroad of civilizations, all of which left their indelible mark on the area. Venetian houses and fountains, the Venetian Harbor and the famous castle of Fortezza, Ottoman mosques and minarets, give visitors the opportunity to admire and appreciate closely the history and "travel" back in time.
This Venetian castle is till today a trademark of Rethymno and for years it has been hosting plays, music, and dance events, as well as painting exhibitions, conferences, and film festivals. Many cultural events are taking place at the Erofili theater, located in the southern part of the castle. The most important buildings have been accurately renovated. Take the chance to make a walk in the castle and enjoy the panoramic view of Rethymno and of the deep blue Cretan sea from above.
Info tel.: 28310 28101
opening hours: daily
June-September: 08:00-19:15, October-May: 10:00-17:00
Tickets: 4€, 3€ for senior citizens aged over 65 years old, accessible and free for the disabled.
The Rimondi Fountain was built in 1626 by the city’s Rector A. Rimondi and was the main town’s water source. It is located in the old Venetian square, along with the Loggia and a Clock tower (no longer existing), following the architectural model of St. Marks square in Venice. Today the fountain still springs water through the three lion heads, located at Titou Petichaki square.
The Loggia was built during the 16th century by Michele Sanmicheli. An eminent building at the historic center, it was a meeting point of the nobles. During Ottoman domination it functioned as a mosque. Today, Loggia hosts an archeological museum shop.
During the Venetian times the Neratze Mosque, was a church dedicated to Mary of Augustans. In 1657, the temple was turned into the central mosque of the city, with extended alterations such as the Ottoman dome. The minaret was built in 1890 and the order was “to be the most beautiful minaret of the East”. It is the highest minaret in Rethymno and one of the best preserved in Crete. Today, the Mosque Neratze hosts the City Conservatoire, located on Emmanouil Vernardou Str.
The Venetian Harbor and the Egyptian Lighthouse are two of the most picturesque sights of Rethymno. The erections across the port were built by the Ottomans, but at the entrance the Venetian Customhouse still stands, which today functions as an Info Point. The Lighthouse also dates to the Ottoman period. Its founder was Mehmet Ali, governor of Crete from 1830 to 1840. Stripped of its old use, today it stands at the entrance of the Venetian harbor as a proud reminder of old times.
Kara Musa Pasha Mosque
Kara Musa Pasha Mosque is located at the beginning of Arkadiou Str. It was founded in 1660 by Kara Musa Pasha. The small dome on the side of the mosque is said to be the tomb in which he was purportedly buried in 1692. Today, the mosque hosts cultural events.
The Guora Gate is the only remaining Venetian Wall of Rethymno. It was built when the rector of the city was Jacomo Guoro (1566-1568). It was an inner break of a covered walkway that crossed the walls through the Santa Veneranta rampart. The Venetian Symbol of a Winged Lion, which was on the Gate, is now placed in the courtyard of the Loggia.
The Cathedral is dedicated to the Presentation of the Theotokos. This is the reason that it is also called “Megali Panagia” (Great Holy Mary). The old church, which was built in 1844, was ruined by the bombardment of 1941 and finally demolished in 1956. The new building, however, has the same wooden temple and its iconography composed in 1852 by famous Greek artists.