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Rethymno is located in central Crete and lies between the towns of Chania and Heraklion. It is considered as the third-largest town in Crete and portrays itself as a quaint region with delightful medieval architecture. The harbor front is the busiest neighborhood of the town. Rethymno has been developed a lot over the years by the tourism industry to provide travelers and guests with various important amenities.
Historically, the earliest settlers of the region belonged to the Minoan period. The region enjoyed a sovereign status to such an extent that it had its own coinage. However, its lack of mention during the Roman and Byzantine period shows that it had lost its importance to the then rulers. But with the advent of the Venetian and later the Turkish rule, the region slowly started to regain its original prominence.
Culture developed a lot in the Venetian times and the town was built with impressive public buildings and private mansions that survive till today. Trade brought economical power to the inhabitants and the harbor of Rethymno was enlarged to welcome ships from all Mediterranean. The Turkish occupation in the 16th century held back the development of the area. Although the Cretans made several attempts to set themselves free, this was accomplished only in the early 20th century.
Today what has remained from these two occupations is the influence in the architecture of the town. In every part of the Old Town of Rethymnon, you will see Venetian and Ottoman structures, such as mosques, public baths, Catholic churches, and fountains.
Apart from the town, the region of Rethymnon is also wonderful. There you will meet the typical Cretan landscape, sometimes wild and other times fertile, with many mountainous villages, lakes, gorges and Byzantine monasteries around. The beaches of Rethymnon, golden sandy and crystal, also dot the landscape and attract thousands of visitors every summer. Most popular beaches are Platanias and Panormos.
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