There are really two Rethymnouns, one modern and one saturated in the atmosphere of the past, of the days when the Venetians and later the Turks held sway. A stroll through the protected old district will lead you through narrow winding alleyways to the Fortezza, the Venetian castle, or the Loggia, one of the finest Venetian buildings in Crete, now the home of the Archaeological Museum. You'll also see minarets, a hamam and a Turkish cemetery, among the 600 or so charming Venetian houses around the port, not to mention 17th century churches and fountains.
Further to the east all along the sea from Misiria to Adele and beyond, is contemporary Rethymnon, which has been developed as a very attractive resort area over the past decade. Heading south, you'll encounter yet again some splendid scenery. A bit after Koxare the Kourtaliodiko Gorge begins. The Kourtaliotis river has created an area of extraodinarity beautiful beaches on the south coast. To the west, not far away, stands Preveli monastery, whose monks have traditionally resisted oppression whether in the Turkish occupation or during World War II.
Before you reach Koxare Agia Galini forms the hub of interest and development. From it we can keep going southeast to the plain of Messara, Kokkino Pyrgo by the sea, Tymbaki with its greenhouses, the important archaeological remains at Agia Triada and the formidable palace at Phaistos, while the famous Matala caves are another feature of the seaside at Messara Bay.
For one of the two remaining routes in this district, turn eastwards on leaving Rethymnon for Adele in order to visit the historic monastery of Arcadi. For the other, turn inland through Perama to get to the marvellous Melidoni cave nearby, and then to Anoyeia to see its hand-woven textiles and summer festival Psiloriti, otherwise known as Mt. Ida, is the highest mountain in Crete at 1.500m. The Idaion Cave was a famous centre of cult worship from prehistoric to Roman times; it was thought to be the birthplace of Zeus.
There are roads from both Agia Galini and Anoyeia leading to Heraklion, which is a short distance away. But you could also take the coast road and stop at the seaside resorts of Bali and Panormos.
|< Prev||Next >|