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Rethymnon is the capital of the Prefecture of the same name and it is built between two other large cities of Crete. In the east is Iraklion (80 km) and to the west is Hania (60 km).
It lies along the north coast, having to the east one of the largest sand beaches in Crete (12 km) and to the west a rocky coastline that ends up to another large sand beach after 10 km.
It is the administrative, communications and commercial center of the Prefecture with approximately 25.000 inhabitants.
Today the city's main income is from tourism, many new facilities having been built in the past 20 years. Agriculture is also notable, especially for olive oil and other Mediterranean products. It is also the base of the Philosophical School and the University Library of the University of Crete and the School of Social and Political Sciences having 8.000 students on its university campus "Galos".
The Christian east orthodox monastery Arkadi is known for the role it played in the revolution against the Ottomans. It was used for refugee purposes by Cretan's (mostly women and children) during the Cretan revolution in 1866. After three days of battle the Cretan's decided to sacrifice themselves by blowing up gun powder rather than surrendering to the enemy.
The most important archeological site of Rethymno is ancient Eleftherna. The site is located on Mount Ida (380m). Significant findings at the Eleftherna site include the Orthi Petra site, where we find fragments of a late antiquity/early Christian city. However the Geometric/Archaic cemetery found at Eleftherna is by far the most significant discovery. In this cemetery three burial practices can be seen cremation, burial and amphora burial.
Boat trip to the nearby caves
Visit the impressive caves in the Scaleta and Geropotamos area. A lovely boat trip will take you on an enchanting journey. The boat ride departs from the closest beach.
An alternate way to sightsee is on the "Yellow Train". The train travels in a short pace, which gives its passenger the chance to enjoy the scenery to the fullest. Of course there is time for the passenger to step out of the train and visit the villages, churches, monasteries, museums and archeological sites.
The excursions offered by the "Yellow Train" are 1) Arkadi/Monastery 2) 5 Villages 3)Eleftherna/3000 year old city 4)Mili/Gorge(bring good walking shoes) 5)Chromonastiri Village 6)Nature Pikri/Cretan Villages 7)Loutra 8)Amnatos 9)Back to Nature/Village life 10)A train trip with no name 11)Rethymno by Train/short tour
Choose your ideal journey!
Ideon cave Psiloritis
Legend has it that Zeus the almighty king of the gods was hidden in this cave as a baby. His mother Rhea instructed the nymphs Adrastea and Idi to take care of the infant and protect him from his father Kronos. In the cave Zeus fed on the milk provided by his much-loved goat named Amalthea (also considered a nymph). After Amalthea's death Zeus made a suit of armor with the goat's skin and used it in the legendary fight against the Titans.
Melidoni and Zoniana caves
The archeological museum in Rethymnon exhibits the archeological discoveries of the Melidoni cave. During the Minoan and Neolithic era the cave was considered to be the home of Talos, a mythical bronze giant that protected the island. Throughout the Roman era the cave was a sanctuary to Hermes Talaios. A terrible event took place in the cave during the Cretan revolution in 1824.Three hundred and forty people entered the cave in order to escape. The Turks lit a fire at the entrance of the cave and everyone inside died of asphyxiation. A commemoration is set in the cave honoring the victims. The Sfendoni cave in Zoniana is one of the most beautiful caves in Greece. Water, minerals and time have created spectacular stalactites in the cave's 3000sqm.