PhotoAt the Archaeological Museum of Rethymno, one can admire remarkable finds from the excavations around Rethymno: statues, pots, tools and jewels of the Neolithic Period, from Gerani Cave and Cave Elenes Amariou, clay pots, seals, sarcophagus and statues from Idaion Andron cave, a small eguptian collection, statues, finds from the wreckage in the bay of Agia Galini, coins, red vessels and a multitude of other objects of great historic significance.


PhotoThe cave of Melidoni is located in the Rethymno Prefecture, 2 km north-west of the village of Melidoni (229 m. altitude). Finds in the area prove that it was a shrine in the Minoan Era, to honour the giant Talos, Taleos Hermes and Taleos Zeus. In January 1824, in this cave 370 villagers perished, after seeking refuge here from the Turks. They all died of smoke suffocation, caused by fires lit by the Turks at the cave's entrance, in attempt to force the villagers to surrender. At the cave's entrance there is a monument, serving as the burial place of these villagers.


PhotoFortezza was built in 1573-1580 by the Venetian commander Alvico Lanto. It was designed by an engineer, called Pallavicini, and it stands on the site of the earlier medieval fortress and the ancient acropolis of Rethymno. It is surrounded by four ramparts and strong walls. With a total length of 1,400 meters and a mass of 6,000 cubic metres, it is an imposing presence over the city. Inside Fortezza there used to be barracks, storage-rooms, public buildings and a military hospital. Today, one can only spot the remains of the Imbraem Chan mosque, built in 1648 on the site of the earlier church of Agios Nikolaos (1583), a venetian church, the storage-rooms, and the cisterns. The view of the city of Rethymno from Fortezza is fascinating.


PhotoThe gorge of Kourtaliotis is situated near the village of Koxare, 22 km south of Rethymno, between the mountains of Kouroupa (984 m.) and Xero Oros (904 m.). The gorge was named after "Krotala", or "Kourtala" as one forms the impression that drums beat and someone applauds, whenever the strong wind blows through the rocks. The 2,000 m. of the gorge are crossed by the river of Kourtaliotis which floods in a captivating area.


PhotoIdaion Andron is found on the eastern side of mount Ida (1,540 m altitude), 21 km away from Anogia (Rethymno Prefecture). It is one of the two Cretan caves claimed as the birth place of Zeus. The other one, is "Diktaion Andron" in mount Dikta. According to mythology, Zeus' parents were Rhea and Cronus, the children of Uranus and Gaia. Cronus intended to swallow Zeus, in order to preserve his kingdom. To fool him, Rhea put a diaper on a stone and Cronus swallowed it, believing it was his son. Nymphs Adrasti and Ida raised Zeus, feeding him wild honey and milk from the goat Amalthia. When Zeus cried, the Kourites protected him, covering his cries by hitting their swords against their shields. Finds in the area (shields, weapons, tools, objects made of elephant bone, etc.) indicate that the cave served as a shrine from Pre-historic to Roman times.


PhotoMount Idi, alias "Psiloritis", spreads along the central part of Crete. The mountain's highest peak, Timios Stavros (2,456 m.) is the tallest area on the island. Psiloritis is part of the Dinarotauric Arrow which begins at Dinaric Alps and crosses all the mainland of Greece. At the area of Prinos (1,100 m. altitude), there is a cabin, with room for 16 people, which belongs to the Heraklian Club of Mountaineering.


PhotoThe monastery of Arkadi is located 22 km south-east of Rethymno. It is a symbol of the Cretan fight for liberty and independence from the Turks. There are many versions concerning its date of establishment. It is said to have been built by emperor Arkadios in the 5th century, or, between 961 - 1204 AD by the monk Arkadios or, in the 14th century by the Venetians. During the 16th-18th century, the monastery thrived, owning a great fortune, a rich library and a workshop of golden embroideries and sacred vestments. On November 7th 1866, while the leaders of the Cretan Revolution had gathered in the monastery, abbot Gabriel Marinakis refused to deliver them to Mustafa Pasha and the Turks, thus resulting in a tight siege of the monastery. After resisting for two days, the 964 Greeks - fighters, monks, women and children - chose to blow up the gun powder room and die rather than surrender to the Turks. The monastery’s exterior is very impressive with thick (1.20 m wide) walls, while the church, built in 1587, is dedicated to St. Constantinos and the Metamorphosis of the Saviour. The monastery includes a guesthouse and an altar with an ossuary, where the bones of the Cretan warriors are kept, and a small collection of ecclesiastic heirlooms, post-Byzantine icons, vestments and documents concerning the monastery's history.


PhotoThe monastery of Preveli is situated 35.5 km south of Rethymno, in an area of unique natural beauty. It was built in 1670 by Abbot Prevelis, upon the ruins of an earlier monastery which was destroyed by the Turks in 1646. According to another version, the monastery was built by the feudal lord Prevelis, who offered his land to the monks, along with the chapel of St. John which was built in the estate. During the Cretan battle against the Turks and the German Occupation, the monastery contributed significantly to the Greek struggle for liberty and independence, as it provided refuge to all fighters, Greek and allies. The exterior of the monastery is dominated by an imposing bell-tower, built in 1629, while, in the interior, one can visit the guesthouse, the library, the abbot's office and a small museum with the remarkable ecclesiastic heirlooms, valuable documents, sacred vestments and the edict of Gregory E' offering the monastery the protection of the Patriarchate of Constantinopole, in 1789. The church was built in 1836 and dedicated to St John the Theologist. Inside, one can admire the pure-gold Holy Cross, the silver chandelier and the bishop's throne. Near the monastery of Preveli stands another, with the same name, dedicated to St John, which is abandoned.


PhotoThe Neradges is the biggest mosque in Rethymno. It is stands at the Venetian square in Rethymno and it is a modification of the church of Santa Maria and an Augustinian monastery. The mosque was completed in 1657 by Turk Gazi Hussein Pasha. The exterior is dominated by the imposing minaret, built in 1890.


PhotoThe Rimondi fountain is located in the centre of Rethymno. It was built in 1626-1629 by the Venetian commander, Rimondi, whose name it took. When the Turks occupied the city in 1645, they added the arched roof. This is a remarkable sample of Venetian architecture and sculpture, decorated with four columns with lovely capital pillars and three water spouts in the shape of lion-heads. On the front, one can admire the coats-of-arms of the house of Rimondi, while above it there is a Latin sign.