There’s More to See Than Just Beach in Rethymnon
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While Rethymnon is smaller than the other major cities in Crete, it isn’t without its own unique culture and charm. Visitors experience a collision of worlds as modern day luxury hotels and touristy restaurants are located only steps away from the city’s Venetian-era Old Town. The beaches of Rethymnon are reason enough to visit the city. However, if you poke around a little, you’ll discover treasures from a range of cultures as Crete passed hands between the Ancient Greeks, Vienna, and the Turks, until finally returning back to its home country.
If you move past the bustling beach-front covered with hotels and restaurants, you’ll find Rethymnon’s harbor. Known as the Venetian Harbor, it features a restored 13th century lighthouse. While looking at the lighthouse from a distance you’re offered views of the blue sea and parts of the Cretian coast. However, get closer to the tower and you’ll find intricate symbols that were built into the brick of the Rethymnon lighthouse.
The Venetian Fortezza
Rethymnon boasts its own fortress that was built under Venetian rule between 1573 and 1583. The Venetian fortress or Fortezza as it is known locally is located at the western edge of the city on a peninsula. This was done purposefully so that the sea on three sides to keep invaders out of the city surrounded the fortress. Open daily, the Fortezza offers views of the city as well as the sea. Inside the fortress you’ll find a Greek Orthodox chapel and a partially restored mosque. You’ll want to dedicate at least an hour or two to see what the Fortezza has to offer.
The Archaeological Museum is located outside the entrance to the fortress. It features a collection of bone tools, Minoan pottery, and countless other artifacts. History buffs will enjoy this museum in particular as the exhibits are presented not only in order chronologically but also by excavation site. Step outside the museum and walk to the Venetian Loggia, a square building that has survived, almost completely intact from the 16th century. Back in the day, the Loggia was where Venetian officials and high rollers convened to talk about trade and politics. Now the building houses the Archaeological Museum’s gift shop. Besides guide books, tourists can also purchase casts of famous Greek sculptures from not only Crete but across the country.
Historical and Folk Art Museum
Make a visit to the Historical and Folk Art Museum, if just to see the building itself. The Museum is housed within a restored Venetian mansion built centuries ago. Once inside you’ll find objects from Cretian life over the years including ceramics, jewelry, clothing and textiles, artifacts, and other works of art. The objects span across centuries, each with little reminders who was in charge of the island and when over the course of Crete’s varied past.
This post was written by Greek Boston