October 20, 2016
So many of the Cretan towns are built on the same model, i.e. large protective walls in various states of decay, a fort, a small port and tiny winding streets. The joy is, that they each have their own personalities as well. Rethymnon, while, if one were reading a description, would be much like Chania, it is a different as can be, in such a surprising and delightful way.
Rethymnon has a rich and varied history. It has been inhabited since the late Minoan Era. During the 3rd and 4th Centuries BC the autonomous state of Rethymnan was of sufficient importance to issue its own coinage.
The Venetian rule saw Rethymnon flourish as a commercial, artistic and administrative center. The Venetians created a harbor, built extensive fortifications – including the impressive Fortezza and the Rimondi Fountain .
During the Turkish occupation Rethymnon fell somewhat into decline. The Turks did however, leave their mark architecturally.
The Fortezza of Rethymnon, is one of the best-preserved castles in Crete. Designed by military engineer Sforza Pallavicini according to the Italian bastioned system, it was built to defend the port against pirate attacks. Barbarossa had devastated the town in 1538.
The Rimondi Fountain, which is actually a spring, stands on the site of an older fountain believed to have existed since at least 1588. The Venetian governor J. Rimondi started the reconstruction of the current fountain in 1626.
The front of the Rimondi Fountain consists of 4 small columns which stand on raised basins used as troughs for animals to drink from. The water runs from spouts that are in form of lions’ heads. You can also spot the crown of Rimondi over the lion’s heads.
We used Rethymnon for a jumping off spot, and stayed at the Avli Hotel. There are not enough words to say how terrific the hotel is, perfectly located with a divine staff. It is owned by a beautiful woman, Katerina, and her architect husband. Their taste is exquisite down to the very last detail. It is several homes put together, it includes not only a large restaurant room, but a wine cellar, a cooking school, a high end grocery store and a garden that I knew I could spend months and months in just watching time pass and discovering all the hidden details.
Their restaurant is truly one of the best in the city, favored by the locals as well as the tourists.
Here are some sights from around Rethymnon: