Rethimno Prefecture

Our tour starts at the Porta Guora, also called the Great Gate, at the beginning of Antistaseos Street. The gate is the only preserved part of the ancient walls of the town of Rethymno.

Going down Antistaseos Street, which is also known as Mikri Agora (Small Market), you will find the church of Saint Francis on the left. Next to the church is the former Turkish Primary School. Special attention should be paid to the outer doorframe, which is of Venetian style, whereas the inner doorframe was added later on by the Turks and is decorated with vines. Next to each pilaster there are pairs of relief work, which depict lions in the lower part and symbols of the Ottoman Empire in the upper part.

The entrance to the school, the lower part of which was built in 1796, is in Papamichelaki Street. Continuing along Antistaseos Street you will find Souliou Street. The picturesque alley is worth seeing, since it boasts a large number of shops with traditional handicrafts.

This street leads up to Palaiologou Street, where we turn right. A few metres further, at the crossroads of Palaiologou St. and Arkadiou St. you will see the Loggia on the right. Today, the Ministry of Culture uses this building as a shop, where true copies of ancient artefacts are sold.

We turn back westwards in Palaiologou St. and arrive at the famous Platanos Square (Platia Petychaki), where the Rimondi Fountain, a remnant of the Venetian times, is situated. It is worthwhile having a closer look at the fountain before continuing through the square with the traditional cafes, taverns and shops. As you turn right into Vernardou Street you will find the Neratzes Mosque with its towering minaret.

The mosque with its impressive dome was the Church of Santa Maria during the Venetian times and belonged to the Augustine monastery, which was situated in the centre of the Venetian square. Its imposing doorframe is ornamented with Corinthian capitals and an impressive lintel in the crown of the arch. The Church of Santa Maria was transformed into a mosque in 1657 and the highest minaret of the town was added in 1890.

The Folklore Museum of Rethymno is situated in 30 Vernardou Street and is worth a visit. Further down the street you can admire one the most beautiful doorframes of Rethymno, which bears the following inscription: "VIRTUTE FULCIDA DOMUS MDCIXKAL JUNII" (Virtue makes this house shine, first days of June 1609). We continue our tour down Vernardou Street and arrive at Nikiforos Fokas Street, at the square of Kyria ton Aggelon (Lady of the Angels).

The Church of the Little Virgin, as the people of Rethymno call it, was built during the Venetian rule and was dedicated to Maria Magdalene of the Dominican order. During the Ottoman occupation, this three-aisled church was transformed into a mosque, and a minaret was added in1680, which collapsed shortly afterwards.

From the square of Kyria ton Aggelon we turn into Arambatzoglou Street with its magnificently ornamented facades and doorframes. A large number of wooden balconies, more than anywhere else in the town, have been preserved in this street.

From Arabatzoglou Street we turn into Mesolongi Street and from there we turn left into Radamanthios Street. The Turkish Baths used to be housed in the number 25 but now it is a private building and so it cannot be visited. The bath was built in 1670 and includes two halls with semi-circular domes.

Westwards, at the crossroads of Radamanthios St. and Nikiforos Fokas St. we turn right and continue down Nikiforos Fokas St. We then go down Klidis St., the first alley on the left, which is famous for the superbly ornamented doorframe in the number 13. We continue down Klidis Street and then we turn left into Renieri Street with its beautiful Venetian doorframes and wooden balconies, until we arrive at Panou Koroneou Street.

In number 12 of this street there is an exceptionally attractive doorframe with a relief that is richly decorated with natural motifs. Walking down Koroneou Street westwards you will arrive at the crossing of Koroneou and Smyrnis St., where five fountains can be seen, two in Koroneou St. and three below the arch. Koroneou Street leads us to the square of Iroon Polytechniou, which is dominated by the neoclassical building of the Prefecture.

We return to Koroneou St. and, continuing eastwards, we turn right into Mavili Street. Here you will notice neatly kept houses with flowers and enclosed yards. We then turn left into Piga St., continue down Patelarou St. and arrive at Nikiforos Foka St., the famous Makri Steno (long alley) of the old town of Rethymno. The iconostasis, which is made of stone and built into the wall at crossing of Nikiforos Fokas St. and Papamichelakis St., is worth seeing.

Continuing along Nikiforos Fokas Street southwards, we turn left into Bouniali St., where the blacksmiths and saddlers used to keep their workshops. Going straight ahead we arrive at Ethnikis Antistaseos St. If we look to the right we can see the Great Gate (Porta Guera), the point from which we had started our tour.

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Best Season:All Year
Popular Location: Old Town, Eleftherna, Margarites, Arkadi

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