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Crete's charming third city

Rethymnon, Crete, Greece: Harbour at night

The citizens of Réthymnon are pure at heart, modest and at the same time proud, well-read and mild-mannered; in other words, a valuable species to have upon this troubled island. Pandelís Prevelákis, The Tale of a Town (1938)

Delightful Réthymnon, Crete’s third city, has for centuries paid a price for its beach and lack of a proper harbour. The Venetians dug a cute round one, but it keeps silting up. This may have proved a blessing, inhibiting the economy enough to spare Réthymnon much of what passes for progress.

Just a little before dinner time at Rethymno

Like Chaniá, its Venetian and Turkish buildings are listed; but unlike Chaniá Réthymnon escaped the Luftwaffe’s attentions. The fortress and its minarets lend the skyline an exotic touch; wooden Turkish balconies project overhead. Its relative isolation attracted scholars who fled Constantinople, giving Réthymnon the reputation of the brain of Crete, confirmed by the University of Crete’s Arts faculty here.

The Old Town

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Text © Dana Facaros

Images by, Giorgos~, Inge Knoff, Jean-Pierre Dalbéra, PD Art, Prekario, Tango7174, Tomisti, Tracy Lee, Unknown authorUnknown author