Port Town in Crete
on Crete's north coast is the capital of the governmental district of the same name. It ranks as the island's cultural center and gives home to several museums, to the philosopical branch of the University of Crete, and other facilities.
The town's landmark is the Fortezza, a fortress from the Venetian period (1211 - 1646), standing on an exposed rock that reaches into the bay.
Further inland, the Venetian Old Town attaches to the fortress. In it's crooked lanes there are unnumbered small shops, arts and crafts workshops, restful bars, and restaurants of varied cuisine.
The Turkish occupation (1646 - 1898) affected the townscape as well. The typically Turkish bay-windows were mounted to many houses in the old town, and up to the present day several minarets show the mosques' locations.
Right below the fortress there is the picturesque Venetian Port which is framed by the modern port's piers. The ferry boat from Piraeus however does not anchor here anymore as since 2006, there is an even more modern port East of the old one, which now also includes a marina.
Every Thursday, the central parking site opposite to the municipal park hosts the legendary weekly market of Rethymnon. During the years before, the place changed several times but that could not impair the colourful buzzle at all.
Once per year the city changes into the scene of a carnival procession, a tradition from the Venetian era. Else, a comparible institution in Greece only exists in the town of Patras on the Peloponnes peninsula.
Further eastward, the coast changes into a beach of 15 kms length. The small villages along the bay changed into hotel suburbs providing most varied types of hotels, apartment facilities and holiday villas, and each of them developed it's own unique flair.
The two international airports of Chania and Heraklion both are a good one-hour drive away from Rethymnon. The best is to hire a car in advance via the internet, e.g. at the Rent-a-Car Company Eurocars which has its head office in one of Rethymnon's hotel suburbs.
So with Eurocars you can collect and return your holiday car not only at each of the airports but also at all hotels in Rethymnon and its environs.
Text by Ingo H. Dietrich
Photos by Sabine Klingsporn, Ingo H. Dietrich, Holger Nordhoff, Matthias Konopka
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