Rethymno is a city of about 40,000 people, it is the capital of Rethymno region on the island of Crete. It was built in antiquity (ancient Rhithymna and Arsinoe), but was never a competitive Minoan centre. It was, however, strong enough to mint its own coins and maintain urban growth. One of these coins is today depicted as the crest of the town with two dolphins in a circle.
Coordinates: 35°22′N 24°28′E
This region as a whole is rich with ancient history, most notably through the Minoan civilisation centred at Kydonia east of Rethymno. Rethymno itself began a period of growth when the Venetian conquerors of the island decided to put an intermediate commercial station between Heraklion and Chania, acquiring its own bishop and nobility in the process. Today’s old town (palia poli) is almost entirely built by the Venetians. It is one of the best preserved old towns in Crete.
The town still maintains its old aristocratic appearance, with its buildings dating from the 16th century, arched doorways, stone staircases, Byzantine and Hellenic-Roman remains, the small Venetian harbour and narrow streets. The Venetian Loggia houses the information office of the Ministry of Culture. A Wine Festival is held there annually at the beginning of July. Another festival, in memory of the destruction of the Arkadi Monastery, is held on 7–8 November.
The city’s Venetian-era citadel, the Fortezza, is one of the best-preserved castles in Crete. Other monuments include the Neratze mosque (the Municipal Odeon arts centre), the Great Gate (Porta Guora), the Rimondi square (Piazza Rimondi ) and the Venetian Loggia.
Today the city’s main income is from tourism, many new facilities having been built in the past 20 years. Agriculture is also notable, especially for olive oil and other Mediterranean products. It is also the base of the Philosophical School and the University Library of the University of Crete and the School of Social and Political Sciences having 8.000 students on its university campus per annum at “Galos”, where the Academic Institute of Mediterranean Studies is situated. The city has an Archaeological Museum and a Historical and Folklore Museum.
Municipality of Rethymno
Information about the Archaeological Museum in Rethymno
Historical and Folklore Museum
28-30 M. Vernardou Str., 74100, Rethymno
Tel: +30 2831023398
Wooden Sculptures Museum in Crete
Axos Milopotamou, Rethymnon, Crete, Greece
Tel: +30 6937691387
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday 9am – 8pm