With roots all the way back to the Minoans under the names Rhythm and Arsinoe, the city flourished to such an extent, that the local governments of the past were able to produce a local currency and assist into maintaining the local development and progress. The emblem of the city is made of one of those coins.
The region of Rethymon Crete (or Rethymno Crete) has an abundance of history mainly ancient due to the relationship and origins with the Minoan civilization which was focused to the East side of the region in a place known as Kydonia. The catalytic changes came with the invasion of the Venetians who conquered the island took the decision to place a trade spot between Chania and Heraklion. That trade spot was the old town which was entirely built by the republic of Venice and today is preserved to its entirety.
Rethymno (or Rethymnon) is everything a Greek town should be and more. It’s one of the best preserved medieval towns in Greece and was once a bastion of the Venetians who left a mighty legacy – the large Fortezza (fortress) which guards Rethymno from the top of an imposing headland. The town was also ruled by Turks for a time so you’ll find a scattering of Ottoman domes and minarets peeping from behind 16th century buildings. Now, a popular destination for tourists, it hosts many hotels and villas.
In the 1250s the city was chairing ‘Retimo’s’ Latin Diocese, which was named again as Retimoario, after the absorption in 1551 of the Diocese of Ario and as suppressed only after the Turkish conquest.
In the area of the town center there are still traces to be found that resemble the past aristocratic appearance with properties dating back to the 1600s; a walk there will reveal in front of you anything ranging from past Greek Roman and Byzantine remains to stone stairs and arched doorways.
The Venetian Loggia houses the information office of the Ministry of Culture and Sports. 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 of Rethymno Crete, 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 Piazza Rimondi and the Loggia.
The town was captured by the Ottoman Empire in 1646 during the Cretan War (1645–69) and they ruled it for almost three centuries. The town, called Resmo in Turkish, was the centre of a sanjak (administrative part of a province) during Ottoman rule.
During the Battle of Crete (20–30 May 1941), the Battle of Rethymnon Crete was fought between German paratroopers and the Second Australian Imperial Force and Hellenic Army. Although initially unsuccessful, the Germans won the battle after receiving reinforcements from Maleme in the Northwestern part of the island.
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.
In Rethymno you can enjoy the breathtaking sight of an endless sandy beach that meets on one side the blue see and on the other the enchanting view of the city. For all the time Winter and summer! The beach of Rethymno is 12 km long, it starts from the historical city center and extends to the Eastern part of the isle reaching Scaleta. Rethymno beach has fine-grained brilliant light brown sand.
Where you can walk barefoot and feel how soft and beautiful it is. There’s nothing more rejuvenating than kicking off your shoes to sink your toes into powdery-golden, squeaky-clean beach sand.