Rethymno Architecture

The architecture of Rethymno, and more specifically Rethymno Town, is one of the most unique and impressive in Greece! The old town of Rethymno is one of the best-preserved in Crete, presenting a unique blend of Eastern and Western elements as a result of the many civilizations that have ruled the island over the centuries. The four-century-long Venetian rule, in particular, left Rethymnon an important architectural legacy including squares, loggias, fountains and clock towers which can be admired to this day.

There can be no doubt that the most important remnant from the Venetian era and the trading activity of that time is the famous Venetian port, the jewel of Rethymnon. Built on top of a low hill overlooking Rethymno Town, the Fortezza stronghold is probably the most iconic landmark and dominates the old harbor. Besides the fortifications, the Venetians constructed many public buildings, including the elegant Loggia, a 16th-century building that stands in the heart of the town, and a number of churches like that of Saint Francis and the beautiful temple of the Lady of the Angels, which was completed in 1609 AD. The Porta Guora (the Bid Door), at the entrance to the Old Town, is also worth mentioning, as are the splendid Rimondi Fountain and a plethora of houses and mansions with arches and beautiful decorations.

In the mid-17th century, the Venetian rule was succeeded by that of the Ottomans, who left their own mark on the city. Over the years, the Ottomans converted numerous Venetian churches to mosques, may of which have survived to this day. One of the best-preserved ones is the Ibrahim Han Mosque inside the Fortrezza, while other impressive constructions include the Neratze and the Kara Musa Pasha mosques. Visitors can also marvel at the old Ottoman baths.

In short, it is no exaggeration to say that the Old Town of Rethymno is a huge open-air museum with exhibits strewn all over the town. Visitors will find many hotels that have been created with respect for traditional architecture.