Greece / Rethymnon

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County of Rethymnon: Picturesque beauty beyond every imagination ...

Rethymnon ... A city-journey  in time, with the first stops in the Venetian era, when the fortress Fortezza stood proudly when the first buildings of the Old Town were decorated, when its narrow alleys were designed. Today, centuries later, Rethymno is considered a city- jewel of the Cretan Land, with the pulse of life and entertainment  to beat here. A few kilometers away from the capital city of the county, beautiful  Christian pilgrimages, wonderful landscapes and numerous choices of beaches awaiting you to explore.

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In the heart of Rethymno beats the old town

In the old town of Rethymnon are distinctly not only the Ottoman and Venetian elements as regards the architecture and construction. A walk in the narrow streets is enough for the historical monuments which are preserved to pop up in front of you: the Fortezza castle, the Rimondi fountain, the gate Guora, the club Loggia, the church of St. Franciscos and the port are the masterpieces the Venetian left behind while from the  Ottoman occupation the Neratze Mosque and the Mosque of Kara Musha Pasha survive.

Fortezza, one of the greatest fortress complexes  of the island ...

The fortress Fortezza at nightThe Fortezza fortress was built in 1573 by the Venetians on the hill of Palaiokastro, with a view to fortify the city of Rethymnon for its protection against the Ottoman threat and, of course, the supervision of the entire region, both on the sea side, and on the land. Inside there were houses, water tanks, powder storehouses, barracks as well as a  hospital and a church. Between the ramparts of Saint Paul and Saint Nicholas there is the main gate, on which the lion of St. Mark was crafted, a typical Venetian emblem. Today ,in Fortezza, you have the opportunity to attend numerous events, especially during the summer months.

The cave of ResistanceThe cave of Melidoni

The cave of Melidoni, northwest of Milopotamos, is famous for two reasons. On the one hand, the large stalactites and stalagmites in the cave chambers impress the visitor. On the other hand, its history excites them. The cave became known after the sacrifice of the Cretans, when they fortified  themselves in it in 1823, in order to avoid the Ottoman threat. After months of siege and a number of unsuccessful raids, the Turks blocked the entrance of the cave with wood and other inflammable materials, setting them fire. The Cretan heroes, although they  showed  strong resistance, they didn’t manage to survive. Today, in the main chamber of the cave you will see the heroes’ ossuary.

Excursion into nature

gorge PatsouThe  gorge of St. Anthony is known as the Canyon of Patsou. It is ideal for those who love hiking and it provides designated and particularly tidy trails. The shade and coolness of the plane trees, in combination with the clean running water are great, natural elements that allow you to explore it easily. In the area you will see the church of St. Anthony, carved in a cave, while in a short distance there is a shrine dedicated to Hermes Kraneos.

The monasteries-bastions of the liberation struggleArkadi Monastery

These are two monasteries, landmarks of the Christian world. The Monastery of Arkadi became known by its active participation in the liberation fights during the Turkish occupation, with its highlight the explosion of the gunpowder storehouse by the Cretan heroes  themselves who were sacrificed so as not to surrender themselves.
The Monastery of Preveli, divided into two temples, that of St. John’s the Baptist and St. John’s the Theologian, served as a spiritual center during the Turkish occupation. Inside the monastery you will see the Museum of Religious Art, with valuable cleric and other items of the 18th and 19th century.

The beaches of Rethymnon

Plakias beachBali, Panormos, Preveli, Plakias, Saint Pavlos, Souda ... The coastline of Rethymnon captures the eye. Rocky scenery, with clear crystal waters and the two seas,  the Aegean Sea and the Libyan Sea, to be in the foreground. The beaches of Rethymnon are mostly organized, with facilities for water sports, resorts, taverns by the sea and beach bars that cool you down, without any doubt. They are suitable for relaxed family outings, too.

GastronomyPreparing the meat ofto

One of the classic Cretan dishes, particularly widespread on the entire island is the’ facing’ or the ‘ofto’ meat. The Anogians’ofto stands out which is applied with the aromas of the mountainous  herbs, is placed in a circle way around the fire and it is simmered. The goats of Crete not only offer fresh meat but also plenty of the cheese which exist  in a rich variety of the Cretan dairy products, such as gruyere.

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