Visit the Old City

Walking through the streets of the old city feels like entering the time machine, as the scenery projects images of a far away past. Small passages, colorful gardens and green balconies, traditional taverns, children playing in the streets and a mixture of people and cultures that co-exist harmoniously, are some of the images that will accompany your walk in the old city. Flavors, scents, images, sounds, spontaneous smiles, and a treat of "tsikoudia" guarantee a wonderful journey in a place that combines the magic of the past and the vividness of the present.

 

Experience the Magic of Renaissance and the Venetian civilization

They say that Rethymnon was worshipped even by its conquerors. That’s why they have cherished it with monuments of rare beauty that still preserve the glory and magic of their times. The imposing Fortetsa fortress is characterized by its outstanding architecture, the Venetian port is one of the most beautiful spots of the city and along with the Venetian Loggia, the Mosques, the numerous fountains, the arched doorways and a plethora of other monuments take visitors to a place where dream and reality cannot be divided.

 

Structure and Preservation of the old city.

In order to effectively preserve the historical environment of the old city while making it part of the city’s modern life and structure, special regulations to control the land use in the area according to EU standards, have been adopted.

The strategic design and distribution of land in the old city aims to enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors; to promote the development of a vivid nightlife and other recreational spots without disrupting the peace of residential areas and protecting at the same time historical sights and buildings.

The Guora Gate used to be the main entrance of the Venetian city walls that protected the town of Rethymno.

Today, it is the only gate left intact from the initial fortress. The gate is accessible to wheelchair users (pebbled road made of cement blocks, no uneven ground). Unfortunately, neither the pebbled road in the Gate nor the pedestrian walkway at the side of the old town have a tactile paving for the blind.

 

One of the most important monuments of Rethymno, the church of Agios Frangiskos was the main church of the monastery of the Franciscan Order. Nowadays, the church is not open to the public (it serves as a storage area of the Archaeological Museum and the Library, which are being relocated).

 

The "Turkish school", as it is known today, is the oldest school establishment in Rethymno and hosts these days the 1st Primary School. The entrance of the school, next to the church of Agios Frangiskos, is definitely worth seeing. The school grounds are not open to the public.

 

As you walk down the K. Palaiologou Street, to the west, you will reach the famous square of T. Petyhaki, known to the locals as 'Platanos', which is adorned by the Venetian Rimondi Fountain, or by its other name, the "Great Fountain". The fountain is on pavement-level and is fully accessible to wheelchair users.

 

The Loggia, which is located at the intersection of the K. Paleologou and Arkadiou streets, was a magnificent building in the town centre that functioned as a kind of officers club. Commercial transactions and political deliberations used to take place inside its walls.

The Loggia houses a shop with replicas of the Archaeological Resources Fund (Ministry of Culture). Exhibits may be touched by visually impaired guests. Guide and assistance dogs are admitted. The building entrance has a stair with 5-6 steps and, for the time being at least, there is no ramp, making the inside of the building inaccessible to wheelchair users.

There is no public WC inside the building, but, just opposite, on I. Petyhaki Street, there is a public WC that is accessible, including to wheelchair users.

 

One of the most beautiful places in the town is the small Venetian harbour with its fishing boats, its famous lighthouse and a great number of taverns. The harbour starts east of Fortezza, at the end of the M. Kefalogianni avenue, and stretches down to the beginning of E. Venizelos street. The surface is paved (with somewhat rough ground in places) but one can cross the harbour using a wheelchair without major obstacles.

 

Close to the Rimondi Fountain, at the intersection of M. Vernadou and Ethn. Antistaseos streets, you will come across the Neratze mosque. 

Today, it belongs to the Fine Arts Society and operates as the Municipal Music School. The main building entrance has a step which makes it significantly difficult for wheelchair users to enter and reach the reception and ticket areas. Yet, there is a mobile ramp that is installed during the events. Inside the building, the surface is uneven in places, nevertheless, this does not prohibit wheelchair movement.

The building has 2 public WCs, but none is accessible to people with disabilities.

 

Dating back to 1670, this Turkish hamam is located on 25, Radamanthios street. It consists of two large rooms capped with hemispherical domes.

Nowadays, it is a private building and, therefore, cannot be visited.

 

From the church "Lady of the Angels", continuing west on the P. Koronaiou street, you will arrive at Iroon Politechniou Square, east of which is located the County Hall. For information on the accessibility of the building please see section "Services".

 

Another route worth doing is the legendary "Makri Steno", in English the “Long Passage". It is actually the N. Fokas street, a central street of the old Rethymno Turkish district, which runs down the Municipal Park to terminate at the Fortezza. The "Long Passage" is accessible to wheelchair users (pebbled road made of cement blocks, no uneven ground), but unfortunately does not have tactile paving for the blind.

 

KARA MOUSHA PASHA MOSQUE.

This mosque is situated at Arkadiou street, which runs parallel to the promenade, very close to the Agnostou Stratioti Square. It currently hosts the maintenance workshop of the 13rd Ephorate of Antiquities (tel. +30 28310 23653) and is not open to the public, except on special occasions.

There is a public WC that is accessible and specially equipped for persons with disabilities.

 

VELI PASHA MOSQUE (THE MOSQUE OF MASTAMPA).

The Mosque is located in the Mastampa district, where the Kon. Satha and Markellou streets meet. The Mosque of Mastampa hosts the Paleontological Museum of Rethymno, the annex of the Goulandris Museum of Natural History.

 

Beside the Guora Gate, on the E. Tombazi street, a mosque was built back in 1670, as per the Turkish customs, the so-called mosque of the Great Door. It was dedicated to Valide Sultana, the mother of the Sultan Ibrahim Khan. Today, its access is possible only through a bookshop. Fortunately, the kind owner of the bookshop allows visitors to have a look. Access for wheelchair users is impossible due to high steps at the bookshop entrance.

Take a look at the following websites and make your program as you like.

 

http://www.rethymno.gr/en/

 

http://www.rethymnon.gr/index.php/english.html

The CARN conference 2017 is hosted by the University of Crete, Campus of Gallos, Rethymnon, Greece

University of Crete

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