The city of Rethimnon is the capital of the prefecture of the same name, an administrative and commercial centre of about 40.000 permanent residents. It is located between the other two large cities of Crete, within a distance of about 80 kilometers western of Heraklion and approximately 60 kilometers eastern of Chania.
As with all the other cities in Crete, Rethimnon has an interesting historical past dating back to the Minoan period. Former appellations of the city include Rhithymna and Arsinoe. During the antique years it was considered a significant commercial and cultural centre, included among the town states that minted their own coins.
Another period of significant flourishing of Rethimnon, was the Venetian era, when it was transformed into an intermediate commercial station between the other two major cities in Crete, Heraklion and Chania. Large part of the Venetian town of the 16th century has been maintained until today, and it is now known as the “Old Town” of Rethimno. While visiting the Old Town you will be impressed by the old Venetian port and the narrow alleys, the building with the arched doorways and stone staircases as well as some Byzantine and Roman remains. The most impressive sight in the area is the Venetian castle of Forteza, which is one of the biggest and well-maintained fortresses in Crete. While here you will also be able to visit the Neratze mosque, the Great Gate and the Rimmondi square.
Rethimno is today considered a modern tourist resort, with lots of tourist facilities that have been built in the prefecture over the last twenty years, rendering tourism one of the main sources of income for the residents. The people of Rethimno are also occupied in agriculture, notably in the production of the famous Cretan olive oil and of other Mediterranean products.