Rethymno, the third largest town on Crete, is the capital of the region of the same name and is situated on the north coast of Crete between Chania and Irakalio.

The town has a population of approximately 27,000 and with its seaside location and fine beaches the town has seen extensive development and the building of many hotels. It is known for the old port, its quayside teeming with fish restaurants. Its charm also lies in the little squares and the narrow alleyways with a market-like atmosphere.

The extraordinarily large Venetian fortress south of the old port is visible for miles. It was built between 1574 and 1582 on a promontory and has a perimeter of 1,300 metres.

The fortress is reinforced with seven bastions with a rounded projection on one side (orillions). The walls enclose churches, a prison, houses, soldiers' barracks, stores and a powder magazine. The Turks converted the domed building which was once a church into a mosque.

In 1645, after a short siege of some 20 days, Rethymon succumbed to the Turkish attacks. The Ottoman regime is said to have plunged the town into its darkest years. The consolation is a town with wonderful examples of Ottoman architecture particularly mosques and charming mansions with wooden loggia.

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