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Listed 79 sub titles with search on: Sights  for wider area of: "RETHYMNO Prefecture CRETE" .

Sights (79)

Beautiful locations

The Amari Valley

  The Amari Valley (Kilada Amariou), southeast of Rethimnon runs from north to south Crete for 25km. This area is noted for the scenic beauty of its valleys and rolling hills against a backdrop of the Psiloritis Mountains. The valley is 400-500 metres above sea level. The peak of Psiloritis (2,545 metres above sea level) is on the east and Kedros (1,777 metres above sea level) is on the west. It is a major north-south pass and has seen a great deal of action throughout history. The Amari Valley is a fertile valley where many varieties of fruit trees are grown and a great number of well-preserved Byzantine churches may be seen.

This text is cited Dec 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.

The Nida Plateau

79 km from Rethymno is the well-known Nida Plateau situated on Mount Psiloritis. Not far from there you will find the Ideon Andron, the cave in which Zeus was housed as a child. On the Nida Plateau, which is used for pasturing during the summer months, you will find the famous "mitata", vaulted stone buildings, in which the shepherds live. Furthermore the Nida Plateau provides skiing facilities during the winter months.
On the Nida plateau, which is used in summer as pastureland, you will find the famous 'mitata', the vaulted buildings made from stone, where the shepherds live. The Nida plateau also offers a ski centre, which is open during the winter months.

  The fertile Nida Plateau at 1400 metres height in the Psiloritis Mountains is 24km from Anogia, 78km from Rethimnon, and 60km from Iraklion. In Nida one can see the traditional installations for cheese making, mitata, the skiing centre of Psiloritis, and the cave of Ideon Andron, which is considered to be the birth place of Zeus. There is also a well-marked path from the Ideon Cave by which you can reach the summit of Psiloritis in about 4 hours.

This text is cited Dec 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.

Mitata Cheese Houses

  On the way to Nida, and in Nida itself, there are the mitata, small round rooms for making cheese. The mitata are made of stone and their roofing is a dome constructed in the tradition of Minoan tombs, e.g. by placing successive layers of stones towards the centre of the circle until it is closed.

This text is cited Dec 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.

Areas of Natural Beauty


Oropedio Spiliou (Spili Plateau)

SPILI (Small town) LAMBI
  Spili is the starting point of walking expeditions to the plateau above Spili where in the spring you can enjoy the rare Cretan flora.


Private Buildings

  Not only did the Venetian architecture prevail in public buildings but attempts were also made on a similar line in the private building sector. Admittedly, private houses and mansions in the cities and in the countryside could by no means be compared with small Venetian palaces, despite the attempts that were made in that direction, due to economic reasons, but most of all because of the dominant traditional Cretan architecture. Particularly with common private houses the architecture of the Renaissance of western countries was expressed mainly in the faηade and more precisely in the doorframe of the entrance. These doorframes, some of which were held simple, others superbly ornamented with pilasters, columns and fine entablatures, represented all architectural orders of the Renaissance: Doric, Ionian, Corinthian and mixed.
The buildings of the city of Rethymno: Private houses in the Venetian quarters of Rethymno, of both simple and luxurious style, still decorate the alleys and streets of the old town up to the present day. As already mentioned, the influence of Renaissance architecture was restricted to the decoration of doorframes, which sometimes showed a rectilinear or semi-circular lintel usually depicting an anthemion in the arch.
The mansion at 154, Arkadiou Street: This lavish mansion was built during the last years of Venetian occupation. An inscription in both Greek and Turkish writing as well as the date 1844 can be observed; the date probably refers to the restoration of the building. The doorframe with its Doric columns and its pediment is of particular beauty.
Doorframe of the residence at 13, Klidis Street: Doorframes often display ornaments in the triangular space beside the semi-circular pediment, as is the case in this building, where the interesting motif of naked children hunting birds is depicted. In the crown of the doorframe with its Corinthian capitals the following inscription can be seen: QUI SPERAT IN DEO SUBLEVABITUR (He who believes in God will be comforted).
Doorframe of the residence at 48, Arkadiou Street: This is one of the most impressive doorframes in the town of Rethymno displaying pilasters with Corinthian capitals and columns with capitals influenced by the Gothic order. Both triangular sides of the semi-circular lintel are ornamented with cupids. The relief of an acanthus in the crown of the arch is also very impressive.
Doorframe of the residence at 30, Vernardou Street: This interesting doorframe displays a Latin inscription dated 1607 as well as the coat of arms of the Clodio family.

This text is cited Nov 2003 from the Tourism Promotion Committee of Rethymno Prefecture URL below, which contains images.

Venetian door (48 Akadiou street)

Mansion (50 Arkadiou Street)

Ornate balcony (64 Arkadiou street)

Venetian Loggia

The Loggia, situated in the centre of the city, was a magnificent building, where the nobility met to discuss political and economic issues. It dates back to the 16th century and was built according to the plans of the famous Venetian architect Michele Sanmicheli. The well-preserved building has a square ground plan with three vaulted sides (the west side is not vaulted). It is built of regular sized stones and the projections of the cornice are particularly beautiful. Originally the building was open and had a four-sided roof, qualities which do not apply any more today.

This extract is cited Jan 2004 from the Tourism Promotion Committee of Rethymno Prefecture URL below, which contains image.

  The sixteenth century Venetian Loggia on the corner has survived in almost perfect shape. The Loggia was an intricate part of Venetian social life providing space for both entertainment and business. Notice the two gargoyles with human faces on the west wall. Each of the three visible walls have three equal semi-circular arches with the middle arch providing an entrance at the ground level. The building is closed, as the city plans to renovate its interior.

This text is cited Nov 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.

Turkish Primary School

Beside the church is the entrance to the Turkish primary school, which is still a primary school (Greek). The double arched doorway is a replica of the Fortezza entrance but with ornate relief of vines, lions, mosques and a crescent moon. The other door of the school (west side) has an inscription attesting to the girl's school founded there in 1796. In the north end of the school yard there is a Turkish grave, which is in very good condition, of a hero of the Battle of Rethimnon. Also the school yard has a good view of the Neratze Mosque and its minaret.

This text is cited Jan 2004 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains image.

Byzantine & Post-byzantine monuments

Venetian Villa

  In Vizari, near the centre of the village, there are also the remains of the Palazzo dei Saonazzi and its sundial.

Byzantine churches

The Byzantine church of Agia Marina

  Near the village of Kalogeros is the Byzantine church of Agia Marina. Not visible from a distance and rather difficult to find, the church, located near a hermit's cave, contains frescoes from the fourteenth century.

Agios Ioannis Theologos byzantine church

  There are also some fine examples of Byzantine churches in Margarites: The church of Agios Ioannis Theologos has frescoes from 1383.

Byzantine church of Michael Archangelos

  The Byzantine church of Michael Archangelos is on a small square in the village. It has an elegantly carved front door and pleasant decorations on the windows. There is only one fresco in this church, that of the Assumption of the Virgin, but it is of very good quality. The bell of the church has drawings of Michael Archangelos and the date 1601 on it.

This text is cited Dec 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.

Basilica at Vizari of Rethymnon

Tel: +30 28210 56119, 53033
Fax: +30 28210 56118

Castles, fortresses & fortifications

The fortress of Monopari

After the 4th Crusade Crete was turned over to Bonifatius of Montferrat, who at a later date sold the island to the Venetians. However, in 1206 the Genovese pirate Enrico Pescatore conquered and besieged the island, and only as late as 1210 did the Venetians succeed in recapturing it. One of the fortresses built by Pescatore is the Fortress of Monopari (Bonripario), remnants of which can be seen from the top of the precipitous hill of Kastellos near the village Ano Valsamonero. Being already a natural stronghold the site merely demanded the construction of a wall at the north side of the hill, which provided the only access. Although the fort has not been restored, one can clearly distinguish two rows of walls at the north side, including three towers for the protection of the entrance, as well as the remains of buildings, two of which were probably storerooms, a cistern and a well.

This text is cited Febr 2004 from the Tourism Promotion Committee of Rethymno Prefecture URL below, which contains image.


Tel: +30 28310 40150-6, 23653, 58842
Fax: +30 28310 40159, 58843
  The fortress of Rethymnon was built between 1573 and 1580 by the Venetians, for the protection of the city by the Turkish threat. It is starshaped with three gates and six bastions. The fortress enclosed the Commander' s house, the Counsellor' s house, barracks, stables, ammunition - storehouses, a cistern and private houses which were later destroyed. There was no systematic excavation on the site. Small-scale excavations have been conducted during the restoration works, in the course of which came to light remains of the ancient city.
  Some years earlier, the 13th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities effectuated works of restoration and consolidation. The architect D. Pikiones had completed a study concerning a new project of the fortezza: a theatre for representations of the medieval cretan plays, tourist accomodations etc. Today the Municipality of Rethymnon in collaboration with the competent services, suggests a restoration study which will bring the monument to its full advantage.
  The most important monuments and architectural complexes are:
  The Counsellors' residence. It is formed of a ground floor and a first floor with large rooms. It was an imposing building, and served during the ottoman occupation, as an official residence. The Italian Remaissance palaces served probably as the model for its construction.
  The Rector' s residence. It was an imposing complex. Today in ruins.
  The Cathedral. It was founded in 1583 and dedicated to St Nicolas. During the Ottoman occupation it was turned into a mosque of Sultan Ibrahim. It is a large square room with a cupola. The only remnants of it are the minaret' s base and the mihrab.
  Gunpownder-shorehouses. Inside the fortress there are two gunpowder-storehouses: They are rectangular buildings with vault and air-locks. The walls are thick with small doors and extra rooms for better safety.
  Ammunition-storehouse. The ground floor and the first floor are covered with vaults. Over the entrance of the ground floor there is an arched lintel. Three pillars supported the wooden floor of the first floor, where several parts of guns were stored.
  Possible Bishop' s Mansion. It is formed of two buildings: The larger, is a unified room covered with vaults, while the smaller is a latter addition. It is considered as the Bishop' s Mansion because of the Cathedral near by.

The Fortezza

  The new fortification of the building complex included a magnificent entrance gate, the Porta Guora, which led to the central square, where the superb public buildings such as the Loggia, the Rimondi Fountain and the sundial tower were situated. In 1571 Ulutz Ali devastated the wall during one of his raids. Thus it became absolutely vital to fortify the hill of Palaiokastro (Old Castle) and to relocate the entire city there. Many problems had to be solved before the Fortezza was finally built during the period between 1573 and 1578. However, the city was never transferred to the safe area within the walls.
  Two years after the destruction, on September 1573, the Rector Alvise Lando laid the foundation stone of the castle, which was to be built according to the drafts of Sforza Palavicini. After a large number of modifications, the fortress was finally completed in 1590. The general draft of the fortress provided new forms of defence, which had become necessary, since gunpowder had come into use: The polygonal ground plan included bastions whilst the walls were wider and inclined. In reality however, due to the morphology of the land only three bastions could be built to the South and to the East, while the north wall formed three peaks. In general the draft of the fortification wall was not the best possible, since it limited defensive abilities. The rocky surface, which impeded an appropriate construction, the lack of a moat, the limited free space around the fortress resulting from the inhabitants' refusal to demolish their houses were some of the basic factors, which limited successful defensive action. Contrary to that the infrastructure of the interior space was probably well planned: Public buildings were situated at a distance from the wall, the ammunition storerooms were housed at the safe north side, and a square formed the centre of the fortress. The interior of the fortress accommodated the following basic buildings: the storeroom of the artillery, where canons and weapons were kept, the residence of the Councillors, where one of the city's two Venetian councillors lived, the residence of the Rector, which represented a luxurious, magnificent building in the central square of the fortress.
  West of the central square and opposite the cathedral the Rector's residential premises were built, part of which have been preserved up to today. The building was founded in 1575 and completed in 1582, and it was first occupied by the Rector Anzolo Barocci. He continued to modify the building up until 1584, because he considered it to be too high and exposed on the hill of Aghios Athanassios, in the west of the city. The imposing and luxurious style of the building is testified to in written records of that time referring to 49 doors, 81 windows, two staircases as well as galleries. Unfortunately, none of the buildings of this complex could be preserved, except for part of the prison, which Barocci had built east of the main residence, and for the cathedral, which was situated opposite the remarkable residential complex of buildings and was dedicated to Aghios Nikolaos. The temple of Sultan Ibrahim was built on the ruins of the cathedral of San Nicolo during the Turkish occupation. New elements such as the large semi-circular dome, the apse of Michrab in the centre of the southeastern side as well as the minaret, which was built next to the entrance, characterised the transformation of the cathedral into a Muslim temple.

This text is cited Jan 2004 from the Tourism Promotion Committee of Rethymno Prefecture URL below, which contains images.

  The giant Fortezza dominates Rethimnon, and is reputed to be the largest Venetian castle ever built. Designed to shelter the entire population, it included a church, barracks, a hospital, and storerooms.
  The Venetians built the Fortezza during a transitional period in military history. In the fifteenth century, armies began using gunpowder in military activities and this prompted the designing of forts which could withstand this type of attack. The Venetians in Rethimnon did not have adequate funds to complete the Fortezza according to the new formula for defensive structures. They allowed the houses of the town to remain close to the walls, leaving no distancing space or room for a moat. This, as well as other factors, including a cholera epidemic in the fort, led to a rather easy victory for the Turkish invaders in 1645.

  Sites of the Fortress:
Main Gate: The main gate is between the Agios Pavlos and the Agios Nikolaos Bastions that were its protectors. The gate is a tunnel going through the walls, wide and high enough to allow for movement of troops, wagons and artillery.
Artillery Magazine: The Artillery Magazine is the first building on your right as you enter the Fortezza. The bottom floor was used to store the cannons while small arms were kept on the second floor. The flat roofs of the buildings collected rainwater which was then piped to the cisterns. Evidence of the aqueduct system can be seen on the Artillery Magazine.
Cisterns: There were many cisterns in the fort. The flat roofs gathered the water and pipes conducted it to the cisterns. One of the better examples of this is in the Agios Ilias Bastion. It is on the southeast point of the fort, to the left of the artillery magazine (near the open air theatre). This chamber is open and is one of the fort's more interesting sights.
Bishop's Palace: There is some question as to whether this actually was the bishop's quarters, since what remains does not resemble any description of the bishop's palace.
Ibrahim Han Mosque: After a Turkish attack destroyed the cathedral of the city, the Venetians decided to build the new one inside the Fortezza. The Turks converted it to a mosque after they captured Rethimnon and named it after their sultan. The mihrab (prayer niche that points to Mecca) is on the east wall.
Governor's Residence: The original building was very large, but very little of it has survived.
Powder Magazines: Two of three magazines remain. They were located in remote places in the fort. The very thick walls were constructed to withstand cannonball fire and with ventilation holes to keep the powder dry.
Councillor's Residence: This is where one of the two counsellors lived. Their job was to control the residents of Rethimnon. Evidence of a Turkish bath is in the upper northwest corner.
Storerooms: The Venetians put the storerooms at the northern wall to be safer from attack. There were underground storage rooms as well as a level above ground. Notice the ventilation holes in the walls. The passage to the gate lies in the middle of these rooms.
Unidentified Buildings: Archaeologist know little about these buildings. The cement trench on the east side dates from World War II and led into a holding room for Cretan resistance fighters whom the Nazis eventually executed.
Civilian Living Quarters: The occupants of these buildings were poor and construction was therefore not strong, so, little remains of the houses.

This text is cited Nov 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


Gerani Cave

The Gerani cave displays magnificent stalagmites and boasts 6 halls. Apart from three human skeletons archaeological research has brought to light a variety of bone and stone tools dating back to the Neolithic period. Furthermore important material of palaeontological interest was found, probably relics of more than 100 endemic deer, which must have died towards the end of the Pleistocene period. The human skeletons belonged to people who were probably trapped in the cave, perhaps due to an earthquake.

Ideon Cave

The Ideon Andron is situated on the Nida plateau of Mount Psiloritis, 24 km from the village of Anoghia and 78 km from the town of Rethymno. Initially its extraordinary large entrance impresses visitors to the Ideon Andron, which is at a height of 1538 m. The cave itself is of particularly large dimensions, with a vast central hall and a gallery of 22 m in length. The cave, in which Zeus was raised according to mythology, represented an important place of worship in both the Minoan and the Roman period. The excavation works that were carried out in the interior of the cave revealed an abundance of important finds such as ceramics, gold jewellery, metal objects and of course the famous bronze shields. Since research is still in progress the cave cannot be visited.

Melidoni Cave

Excavation works, which continue to be effected in the cave of Melidoni, have proved that the cave was used as a central place of worship from the early Neolithic age up until the Roman period. An inscription gives evidence of the fact that Hermes was worshipped in this cave. It also played an important role during modern times, more precisely during the Turkish occupation. In January 1834, the Turks besieged the cave, where 370 inhabitants of the village of Melidoni had found shelter, set it on fire and suffocated everybody in it. Their bones are preserved in the memorial sarcophagus situated in the first hall. The cave is open to visitors.

  The cave is about 1,800 metres northwest of the village and is of interest because of the archaeological findings which are displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Rethimnon. The cave was also the mythical home of Talos--the giant bronze protector of Crete used to circle Crete twice a day, warding off its enemies. Legend says that the sorceress Medea removed his protective thorn and he bled to death. Melidoni was the site of a sanctuary dedicated to Hermes Talaios during the Classical Greek period. The cave is also associated with a tragic historical event that occurred during the Turkish occupation. Three hundred and forty men, women, and children sought refuge in it and refused to surrender. The Turks lit a fire at the cave's entrance and all the people inside were asphyxiated. There is a plaque commemorating these lives lost in 1824 along with a communal tomb in the cave.

This text is cited Nov 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.

Agios Antonios Cave of Patsos

The cave of Aghios Antonios near the village of Patsos also represents a place of dedication as has been proved by archaeological research. It was used as an important centre of worship from the Late Minoan up until the Roman period. An inscription that was found in the cave testifies that Hermes Kraneos was worshipped here. The church in the interior of the cave is dedicated to Aghios Antonios, the patron of the children. The cave is open to visitors.

  Near the village of Patsos there are two caves in the hill of Soros. The cave of Ermis Kraneos (Hermes of the Fountain) was a sacred site in antiquity. No systematic excavation has been done yet, but periodically people have found objects from the Minoan, Greek and Roman eras. The cave of Ermis Kraneos is known to the locals as Agios Antonios Cave because of the small church of Agios Antonios that has been built within it. The cave (signposted) is within a beautiful park in a small gorge. It is believed that Patsos has been built on top of an older site. About 300 metres further to the north there is Fournare, another cave.

This text is cited Dec 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.

Patsos village hasn't any historical interest but near the village there are two caves in the hill of Soros with great interest. The cave of Ermis Kraneos (Hermes of the Fountain) was a sacred site in antiquity. No systematic excavation has been done yet, but people have found objects from the Minoan, Greek and Roman eras. The cave of Ermis Kraneos is known to the locals as Agios Antonios Cave because of the small church of Agios Antonios that has been built within it. The cave is within a beautiful park in a small gorge. It is believed that Patsos has been built on top of an older site. About 300 metres the north there is another cave, Fournare.

This text is cited Jan 2004 from the Interdynamic S.A. URL below, which contains image



Sendoni or Sfendoni Cave

The cave of Sfendoni near the village of Zoniana in the district of Mylopotamos (47 km from Rethymno in the direction of Perama - Axos) displays 14 halls, richly ornamented with stalactites and stalagmites. It is 550 m long and covers a total of 3,330 sq.m. During recent years archaeological research has uncovered installations dating back to the Neolithic period in the interior of the cave.

  Near the village of Zoniana is the Sendoni Cave. This is a spectacular cave with numerous stalactites and stalagmites. It is 550 metres in length and covers an area of 3,300 square metres. The name of Sendoni, according to the locals, comes either from a freedom fighter or perhaps a thief who used the cave as a hideout.

This text is cited Dec 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


Rimondi Fountain

A. Rimondi, the Rector of the city, built the famous Rimondi Fountain, which is situated at present day Platanos Square, formerly the centre of Venetian city life, in 1626. The water runs from three spouts in the shape of a lion's head into three sinks. Three small, fluted columns, ornamented with Corinthian capitals are "standing" on the sinks. Above the capitals an entablature can be observed, the middle part of which displays four projections in the shape of the leaves of the acanthus exactly above the columns. Furthermore in this section the words LIBERALITATIS and FONTES are inscribed.

This extract is cited Jan 2004 from the Tourism Promotion Committee of Rethymno Prefecture URL below, which contains image.

The Fountain of Roussospiti

The village of Roussospiti, which is situated 10 km from Rethymno, boasts a variety of Venetian buildings such as the famous fountain, which dates back to the 17th century. Gerola described it as "graceful", a characterisation, which, on a closer look, one must agree with. On both sides of the semi-circular concha a pair of small columns are situated, which support the architrave. The spout has the shape of a lion's head.

Gorges & Ravines

The Gorge of Kotsifou

The Gorge of Kotsifou begins at the village of Kannevos and ends at the village of Plakias. Just 10 m wide at the entrance, the beginning of this gorge is very narrow, however, eventually the gorge widens out to 600m. It is 1,800m long in total and its almost perpendicular walls reach a height of 600 m. A small chapel built into a rocky cavity is situated in the gorge.

Kourtaliotiko gorge

The Gorge of Kourtaliotis with its imposing precipices reaching to a height of 600 m starts shortly after the village of Koxare and ends at the Lagoon of Preveli. This magnificent gorge is worth visiting. Approximately half way through the gorge and on the left-hand side of the road from Koxare to Asomatos are steps, which lead down to the bottom of the gorge and to the chapel of Aghios Nikolaos. The river Megalos Potamos runs through the gorge, which at this point is called river Kourtaliotis.

  Kourtaliotiko Faragi is 23km directly south of Rethimnon on the Rethimnon - Armeni - Kourtaliotiko Faragi road. The mountains of Kouroupa (984m) and Xiro Oros (904m) form the Kourtaliotiko Gorge. The gorge begins in the village of Koxare and follows the Kourtaliotiko River, as does the road. About half-way through the gorge there are parking places and steps leading down to the river-bed and the church of Agios Nikolaos. At the end of the gorge is an area that resembles a tropical lagoon, Palm Beach. The gorge is narrow and ruggedly beautiful; the river that flows through it forms five big pools and then a waterfall. Throughout the gorge a wide variety of wildlife is visible.

This text is cited Dec 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains image.

The gorge of Patsos

The gorge of Patsos is easy to walk through. Both the gorge and the cave, which hosts the Church of Aghios Antonios, have been improved by the Forest authority and are an excellent destination for short tours and a picnic.

The Prassano Gorge

The Prassano Gorge, which starts south of the village of Prasses, offers you a three-hours-walk. Its impressive rock faces and a few rather difficult points of access make this tour particularly interesting.




The doorframe in the village of Amnatos

Among the many Venetian buildings in the village of Amnatos, which lies 18 km from Rethymno, is a house with a particularly impressive doorframe. The crown of the gable shows the inscription: INITIUM SAPIENTE TIMOR DOMINI (=Beginning of Wisdom Fear of the Lord)

Venetian portal of the treasury building

  In the centre of the village of Amnatos there is the remains of the Venetian treasury of 16th century, a large decorated portal.

The villa Clodio

This magnificent country residence of the Clodio family is situated 2 km east of the village of Chromonastiri. Recently, restoration has been started on it.

The mansion in the village of Moundros

This Venetian mansion is adorned with a beautiful doorframe, which bears an inscription taken from Virgil's Aeneid. It is said to be a reproduction of the doorframe in the east, central entrance to the Fortezza.

Venetian Mansion

This sixteenth century house (at Arkadiou street, 154) is the largest Venetian home in Rethimnon. The date over the door refers to renovations. The carved wooden gutter is one of its special features.


Lagoon of Preveli

At the point where the river Megalo Potamos empties into the sea and the gorge of Kourtaliotis ends are the famous Lagoon of Preveli and the beach of Finikas. In order to get there you follow the road to the monastery of Preveli. Shortly before the monastery a track on your left-hand-side leads down to a parking place. From this point on you will have to walk down to the sandy beach, where a remarkable, almost tropical landscape with numerous palm-trees makes up for any inconveniences. The river which flows into the sea, combined with the natural vegetation represent a magnificent sight that you should not miss.

Old watermills

Old mill and aqueduct

  An interesting old mill (mylos) is also near Vizari. It is located on the west edge of the artificial lake below Vizari. The aqueduct for the mill starts from the artificial lake.

Religious monuments

Sotiras Christos church

  The roof of Sotiras Christos Church has, unfortunately, recently collapsed, but the visitor is still able to appreciate what once must have been a beautiful church. The back wall has a relief of a child's face near the window. Tradition says that a child from the village of Fourfouras on the opposite side of the valley had seen a light in this place which led to the discovery of the icon of the Panagia. On August 6 every year the two villages celebrate together in this site.

This text is cited Dec 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.

Byzantine church of Michael Archangelos

  Michael Archangelos, in the middle of the village, is a two-aisled church with one aisle wider than the other and dates from the fifteenth century. In front of Michael Archangelos is a working medieval fountain.

Agia Paraskevi bassilica

  The remains of Agia Paraskevi, a three-aisled basilica dating from the twelfth century, are still visible below the main road of the village.

Early Christian Basilica of Ancient Eleftherna

It is situated in the archaeological area of Ancient Eleftherna, at the place of Katsivelos. This three-aisled basilica with rich mosaic ornaments dates back to either the 6th or the 7th century.

Early Christian Basilica of Goulediana

This three-aisled early Christian basilica with rich mosaic ornaments was discovered at the place of Onythe, southeast of the village of Goulediana, which is situated 18 km from Rethymno. It dates back to either the 6th or the 7th century.

Monastery of Arkadi

Tel: +30 28310 83136
Fax: +30 28310 83137
   The Monastery of Arkadi is located at an altitude of almost 500 m., in the north-western foothills of Psiloritis mountain, approximately 23 km to the southeast of Rethymnon. Though the old historical tradition related the foundation of the monastery with the Byzantine emperor Arkadios (5th century AD), the scientific research has established that both the foundation and the name of the monastery should be ascribed to a certain monk named Arkadios. According to an inscription found in situ the main temple - the Katholikon - was built in 1587 substituting an earlier church. The current monument bears every mark of the Renaissance architecture, a consequence of the Venetian rule on the island. Apart from the Katholikon, which stands at the centre, the monastery complex includes the monk cells and ancillary buildings, clustered around a central court yard. This was an extremely wealthy monastery, an important center of copying Greek manuscripts and a workshop of church embroideries.
   In 1866 broke out one of the major revolts in Cretan history against the Ottoman occupation. 943 Greeks, the majority of which were women and children, sought refuge in the monastery which was besieged by the Turks. On 8 November 1866, when after three days of battle surrender was unavoidable, Kostis Yamboudakes caused an explosion at the powder magazine of the monastery, and all mutineers and civilians who had been kept there were buried inside, along with the besiegers. Thus the monastery of Arkadi became an eternal symbol for freedom and the 8th of November henceforth the day of commemorating the Cretan resistance.
  A valuable collection of ecclesiastical and historical relics are on exhibition today in the Monastery Museum. In their majority they are dated before the destruction of 1866. Among them are portable Post-Byzantine icons, manuscripts and ecclesiastical vestments, as well as weapons and the banner of the revolutionary period.

First Byzantine Period Basilica

  In Panormon the remains of the sixth century Christian basilica of Agia Sofia have been excavated. The basilica has three aisles; each aisle was separated from the other by four columns. Fragments of the capitals have been found. In front of the church, at right angles to the aisles, there is a narthex, and in front of the narthex an atrium which had Corinthian columns around the cistern and may have been a baptistery. To find the church, follow the main road entering the village until the Panormon post-office. Opposite the post-office on the left side of the square there is a sign to Agia Sofia. The road goes under the highway and in 100 metres reaches Agia Sofia.

This text is cited Nov 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.

Southwest of the village of Panormo and 30 km east of Rethymno the largest early Christian church on Crete was excavated in 1948. The basilica has a wooden roof; it dates back to the 5th century and is dedicated to Aghia Sofia.

Byzantine church of the Panagia

  In Patsos there are also the remains of the Byzantine church of the Panagia which contains frescoes. The church of the Panagia according to Gerola (an Italian historical photographer who visited Crete in 1902), used to have nine domes (!) of which the five in the middle were larger than the others. The people of the area talk also about a church of the Panagia that used to have 101 windows and doors. The roof of the church has fallen in but some church walls and some frescoes remain. The environment resembles one of an ancient temple. A short path from the centre of the village leads to the church. No systematic excavation has been done.

This text is cited Dec 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.

Byzantine church of the Panagia

  The Byzantine church of the Panagia in Drakonero is here. The church has cruciform architecture with a dome in the middle. Externally the church has very unusual and ornate decorations around its door, unique on Crete. A tomb inside the church is supported with lion heads, flowers and angels. A coat of arms, probably of the Zangaroli family, is on the upper part of the tomb. In the church there are some well-preserved frescoes of very good quality. The church of the Panagia is on the side of the ravine and it is not visible from the road.

This extract is cited Nov 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.

Neratze Mosque

  The city holds public concerts in this building. It was once the church of Santa Maria, later Agios Nikolaos. The east and north wall of the mosque are the original parts of the Santa Maria Church as is the ornate portal with its Corinthian columns and arched entrance. The Turks converted it to a mosque in 1657. The mosque was the largest and richest in Rethimnon and the minaret was designed to reflect this. The chapel of the Santa Maria Church has an inscription indicating its use as a library by the Muslim clergy. The church, reconsecrated after the Muslims left Crete, became Agios Nikolaos, but it never regained its status as a place of worship.

This text is cited Nov 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.

During Venetian occupation the mosque Neratzes, which today is used as a music school, was the Augustinian church of the Holy Virgin. In 1657 the Turks transformed it into the mosque Gazi Housein or Neratze, and in 1890 they added a large minaret with two galleries, which was built from the famous stones from the village of Alfa. The chapel of the Holy Virgin, situated at its west side and dedicated to the Body of Christ, was also transformed into a seminary. Outstanding elements of this building are the doorframe and the three domes.

This extract is cited Jan 2004 from the Tourism Promotion Committee of Rethymno Prefecture URL below, which contains images.

Valide Sultana Mosque

  Looking up, you will notice the Valide Sultana Mosque (named after the Sultan's mother), inaccessible because the city has surrounded it, but still adding to the oriental appearance of Rethimnon.

This text is cited Nov 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.

Kara Musa Mosque

  At one time this site was the monastery of Santa Barbara. The Turks converted it to a mosque after the Battle of Rethimnon and named it after the commander of their naval forces. The mosque has still its mihrab indicating the direction of Mecca. There is also a mausoleum in front of the mosque. There is a fine Turkish fountain outside the mosque on the front facing the street, and another inside facing the mosque.

This text is cited Nov 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.

Veli Pasha Mosque

  The mosque is thought to be built on top of the Venetian church of Agios Onoufrios. The remains of the Turkish monastery that surrounded it are still evident. The mosque has some structurally unique features such as the main doorway, and its minaret is the oldest in Rethimnon (1789). At present the mosque is being renovated.

San Francesco Venetian church

This church belonged to a monastery run by Franciscan monks. Apart from the temple two chapels have been preserved which are situated east of the church. The doorframe of the entrance is ornamented with capitals of various orders and deserves particular attention.

  This important Venetian monument was a single-aisled, wooden-roofed basilica with certain parts of the church, (specifically: the floor, the windows, and the main door), being of a later date. Its interior reveals such detail and precision in workmanship that it is undoubtedly that of master craftsmen. The impressive ornate northern doorway displays these skills; however, the church is closed for renovations.

This text is cited Nov 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains image.

First byzantine period basilica

  Nearby, on a plateau above the village of Goulediana, the remains of a three-aisled basilica with mosaic floors of the first Byzantine period have been excavated.

Byzantine church of Panagia

  The roof of the church of the Panagia has fallen in, but it has admirable reliefs on its doors and windows. The church is in the school yard.

Agia Paraskevi Church

  The church of Agia Paraskevi is visible on the left hand side, below the road as you leave the village towards Erfi. The church has collapsed.

Halepa Monastery

  The abandoned Halepa Monastery is on the hill above the village of Tsachiana, Milopotamos and has an exceptional view of the valley. The monastery church is a double-aisled basilica without a dome. The monastery itself is very old but there is no precise information on when it began. To the left of the main door there is a fountain with relief carvings. The monastery was a centre of revolutionary activity against the Turks and it was destroyed in 1821; today it is essentially non- functioning.

This text is cited Dec 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.

About 500 meters above the Tsachiana village there is an abandoned Monastery called Halepa. The monastery church is a double-aisled basilica without a dome and is very old with a very little information about it's beginning or it's end. To the left of the main door there is a fountain with relief carvings. The monastery was a centre of revolutionary activity against the Turks and it was destroyed in 1821.

This text is cited Jan 2004 from the Interdynamic S.A. URL below, which contains image

Basilica of Agios Dimitrios

  The church of Agios Dimitrios, is a four-aisled basilica which seems to have been the bishopric of Ario for a certain period of time. One aisle remains and it has a dome. The aisles were separated with arches and columns. Externally there are blind arches decorated with bricks and the door has an interesting toothed arch above it. Agios Dimitrios has been built on the foundations of an ancient temple of Artemis.

This extract is cited Nov 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


Agia Dynami Springs

Following the old national road from Rethymno in the direction of Chania, after 27 km you arrive at Argyroupoli. The village has been built on the remains of the ancient city of Lappas. The large number of springs in the place of Aghia Dynami as well as the cave with the chapel of the same name is worth visiting.


Odos Arkadiou

  The lovely Venetian homes with their decorative doorways alert you to its importance during that era. The row of shops and houses in front of Odos Arkadiou (north side) were built during the Turkish occupation. Before this, these impressive buildings on Arkadiou were almost at the water's edge.

This text is cited Nov 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.

Souliou Street

  This was once an important commercial area. You can still see a little evidence of this in the shops. Shoe manufacturing and sales went on here during the Turkish era.


Guora Gate

  The Guora Gate, is the only remnant of the Venetian city wall. Although unimpressive-looking, its name was once the Great Door. The busy market streets surround the gate today.

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