Our tour starts at the PortaGuora, also called the Great Gate, at the entrance to Antistaseos Street. The gate represents the only remaining part of the ancient fortified wall of the town of Rethymno. Continuing down Antistaseos St., which is also known as Mikri Agora (Small Market), you will find the church of AghiosFrangiskos on your left-hand-side, and next to the church is the former Turkish Primary School. Special attention should be paid to the outer doorframe, which is in the Venetian style, whereas the inner doorframe was added later on by the Turks and is ornamented with vines. Thus the initial frame was a much narrower shape. Next to each pilaster pairs of relief work can be seen, which portray 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 situated in Papamichelaki Street. Continuing along Antistaseos Street, further down you will arrive at Souliou Street, which branches to the right. The picturesque alley is worth seeing, since it boasts a large number of shops displaying traditional handicrafts.
This street leads up to Palaiologou St., where we turn right. A few metres further down, at the crossroads of Palaiologou and Arkadiou St. the Loggia is situated on the right-hand-side, today, the Ministry of Culture uses this building as a shop, where true copies of ancient artefacts are sold. We turn back in a westerly direction on Palaiologou St. and arrive at the famous Platanos Square (PlatiaPetychaki), where the Rimondi Fountain, a remnant of the Venetian period, will be found. It is worthwhile having a closer look at the fountain before continuing through the square with its traditional cafes, tavernas and shops, and turning right into Bernardou St. Here, the Neratzes mosque with its towering minaret is situated.
The mosque with its impressive dome was the Church of Santa Maria during 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 furnished with two galleries was added in 1890. The Folklore Museum of Rethymno is found at No. 30, Bernardou St, and is worth a visit. Further down the street you can admire one the most beautiful doorframes of Rethymno, which displays the following inscription: “VIRTUTE FULCIDA DOMUS MDCIXKAL JUNII” (Virtue makes this house shine, first days of June 1609). We continue our tour down Bernardou St. and arrive at NikiforosFoka St., 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 occupation and dedicated to Maria Magdalene of the Dominican order. During the Turkish occupation, this three-aisled church was transformed into a mosque, and a minaret was added in1680, which collapsed shortly after. From the square of Kyria ton Aggelon we turn into Arambatzoglou St. with its magnificently ornamented facades and doorframes. A large number of wooden balconies, many more than anywhere else in the town, have been preserved in this street.
From Arabatzoglou St. we turn into Mesolongi St. and from there we turn left into Radamanthios St. The Turkish bath was housed at No. 25 during earlier times; but it is now a private building and so it cannot be visited. The bath was built in 1670 and includes two halls with semi-circular domes.
To the west at the crossroads of Radamanthios and NikiforosFoka St. we turn right and continue down NikiforosFoka St. We then continue down Klidis St., the first alley on our left-hand-side, which is famous for the superbly ornamented doorframe at No. 13. We continue down Klidis St. and then turn left into Renieri St. with its beautiful Venetian doorframes and wooden balconies, until we arrive at PanouKoroneou St.
In this street No.12 has an exceptionally attractive doorframe with a relief that is richly decorated with natural motifs. Walking down Koroneou St. in a westerly direction you will arrive at the intersection of Koroneou and Smyrnis St., where five fountains can be seen, two on Koroneou St. and three below the arch. Koroneou St. leads us to the square of IroonPolytechniou, which is dominated by the neoclassical building of the Prefecture. We return to Koroneou St. and, continuing in an easterly direction, we turn right into Mavili St. 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 NikiforosFoka St., the famous Makry Steno (long alley) of the old town of Rethymno. The iconostasis, which is made of stone and built into the wall at this point where NikiforosFoka St. and Papamichelaki St. meet, is worth seeing.
Continuing along NikiforosFoka in a southerly direction, we turn left into Bouniali St., where the blacksmiths and saddlers had their workshops in earlier times. Following the road straight on we arrive at EthnikisAntistaseos St. and, looking to the right, we can see the Great Gate (PortaGuera), the point from which we started our tour.
Τhe following tour starts at EthnarchouMakariou St., at house numbers 5, 7, and 9, where we shall see parts of domed buildings, which represented the quarters of the rampart of AghiaVarvara, that is of the first fortification of the town of Rethymno. Following the road further down we arrive at the square of Iroon, which has the monument to the Unknown Soldier in its centre. From here we turn into Arkadiou St., one of the most important shopping centres of Rethymno. The mosque Kara MousaPasa is situated at the corner of Arkadiou and ViktorasOugo (Victor Hugo) St.. We continue down Arkadiou and stop at no. 48 in order to admire the impressive doorframe of this Venetian mansion. Further down we arrive at no. 154, Rethymno’s most imposing Venetian mansion. It boasts a magnificent facade as well as a distinctive doorframe. Furthermore, No. 12 Tsouderon St. also displays a beautiful doorframe with Doric columns, an arch and triangles with curved sides, which are richly ornamented with motifs taken from nature.At the crossroads of Tsouderon and Tsagri St. we turn to the right, pass through the vaulted passage and turn right again into Arkadiou St. At this point, that is at the intersection of Arkadiou and Chatzigrigoraki St., you will find an admirable Neoclassical mansion with three storeys. We continue down Arkadiou St. as far as Paleologou St., where the famous Venetian Loggia is found on the left hand corner. From there we turn right into Petychaki St., which leads us to the beach promenade of E. Venizelou.
Following the stone-paved promenade in a westerly direction you will come to the Venetian port. Construction works started here in 1300, however they were delayed due to problems of sand being washed up. The wall, which surrounds the port, is also of Venetian origin, whereas some extensions and the lighthouse were built during the Turkish occupation.
Source: Regional Unit of Rethymno