Rethymno is the town I grew up and raised and it has a special spot in my heart. It is a small town of 35000 permanent residents and it is located on the largest island of Greece called Creta. Rethymno during the summer offers visitors the magic combination of fantastic nature spots and history.
Except of the natural beauty spots that the visitor can see, such as sunny sandy beaches, gorges and high mountains, the visitor might feel that he is in another era only by having a walk in the narrow alleys of the old town.
The historic old town of Rethymno is one of the most well-preserved cities of the Renaissance. It was built in the 12th century by the Venetians and was almost completely destroyed in 1572 by Uluj Ali the Ottoman pirate and pasha, regent of Algeria who conquered the city. During the Ottoman rule, many Ottoman buildings were added to the city's architecture, which today composes this magical image that visitors face, feeling that they are in a city with two different cultures. Today I will try through my photos, to show you some of the most prominent architectural monuments of the city. I hope to make you feel that you are coming with me through my photos. :)
The Kara Musa Pasha Mosque is a Venetian monument and adorns the entrance to the old town. It was a monastery dedicated to St. Barbara, but during the Turkish occupation, it was turned into a mosque. Its name comes from the Turkish commander of the naval operations who occupied Rethymnon. In 1646 it was turned into a mosque, carrying out some architectural interventions in the original building. Some domes and a minaret have been added, of which only the base survives today.
Rimondi fountain is one of the most famous fountains in the city. Every day hundreds of tourists visit it, photograph it and of course drink water from there. It was built in 1626 by the rector of the city, Alvise Rimondi, where it took its name. On the fountain, you can see Three ribbed columns and three lion heads where the water flows. Above them is a Latin inscription that reads "Liberalitatis Fontes" which means the Fountain of Abundance. There are many local myths about the fountain. The most prevalent says that whoever drinks water from there stays young forever.
The Neratze Mosque is perhaps the most important and well-preserved mosque of the city. The imposing building was a Venetian church of virgin Mary and a catholic monastery of the Augustinian monks. During the Turkish occupation in 1657 it was turned into a mosque by Gazi Hussein Pasha. Today it operates as a conservatory and as a concert venue for the city.
The Fortezza fortress was built in 1573 by the Venetians due to the need to protect against Ottoman pirate raids. Inside the fortress, visitors can find the House of Councilors, the old St. Nicholas Cathedral, which was later converted into a mosque by the Ottomans, gunpowder depots and water tanks, and several other residential buildings. Also, there you can find the small open-air theater Erofili, which has been a point of reference for the city's cultural events in recent years.
In the Venetian old port of Rethymno, you can see the lighthouse. Access, unlike other Greek lighthouses, is very easy. The door of the Lighthouse is distinguished for the excellent decoration of its frame on the carved stone, a sign of the art and architecture of the East, which disappeared in the 19th century. It is one of the most romantic places in Rethymno so if you are in the old town with your partner you should definitely go there.
At last but not least I left one of the most outstanding attractions of the old town of Rethymnon which is the gates at the entrances of old buildings, which are found in hundreds of buildings of the Venetian and Turkish periods. These are doors with Renaissance influences of western architecture, which attract attention and impress every visitor.It is worth noting that Rethymno is the city that saves the greatest wealth of renaissance doors in all of Greece! Also equally impressive are the wooden closed balconies left over from the Turkish occupation.
There are a lot of things that make my hometown unique. But the most important is the history and the monuments that this town has. Restaurants, clubbing, and beaches you can find almost everywhere. But culture and well-preserved monuments it's a little hard to find. Thanks for reading. I hope you liked the old town of Rethymno and maybe visit it one day. Who knows? we may meet and I can personally show you my favorite spots. :)