GENERAL INFORMATION ON CRETE
Crete is an island with an exquisite 1,000 kilometer-long coastline dotted with numerous coves, bays and peninsulas, which afford a multitude of soft, sandy beaches along the beautifully blue Mediterranean Sea. After all, it's among the finest in the world and has established Crete as one of Europe's most popular holiday destinations. And, of course, the island's historic importance in today's world as the home of the Minoan civilization with important archeological finds at Knossos, Phaistos and Gortys, is evidenced by the tens of thousands of visitors to these sites each year.
However, Crete is the largest island in Greece - the fifth largest in the Mediterranean - and, within its diverse area of more than 8,000 square kilometers, there are many other jewels just waiting to be discovered by the more adventurous explorers of holiday treasures.
If you haven’t visited Crete yet, you have to come and discover this fascinating Greek island. If it captures your heart, don’t worry. Come back next year and Crete will welcome you once more with its smiling Cretan sun, the sounds of the Cretan lyre, the scents of orange blossom and jasmine, a slice of cool red watermelon and a glass of iced raki.
Rethymno is located in the middle of the north coast of Crete, and it has much to offer to the visitor: archaeological sites, historic monasteries and charming villages. It is one of the most attractive places for holidays in Greece. The characteristics of the city is its beautiful wide and endless sandy beach, its picturesque
little streets with old Venetian and Turkish houses, the Venetian port and fortress.
Rethymno is the third largest town in Crete, after Heraklion and Chania.
The old city of Rethymno still preserves its old Venetian style and its later Ottoman influences to a great extend. It has been declared a protected historical monument and a traditional settlement. The old city of Rethymno is a typical example of a regional urban center; it is closely connected to the mainland of the Prefecture as an administrative, transportation, educational, commercial, tourist, and cultural center.
History: The first settlement appeared at the last years of the Minoan civilization (1350-1100 BC). The ancient town called Rithymna, developed during the classical years (470-323 BC). At 1204 AC Crete came under the Venetian domination. During this period the fortress and the defending walls were built to protect the town from the Turkish and Algerian pirates. There was an economical growth and in the last years of the Venetian occupation many people could study at Italian universities, leading to the development of the arts – literature, theatre, painting and architecture.
The Cretan Renaissance flowered at the time and in 1561 the ViVi Academy, the first cultural corporation in Greece after the fall of the Byzantine Empire, was founded. In 1646, Rethymno was conquered by the Turks, the economy became agricultural and education was ceased. After many revolutions, the town was occupied from the “Great Powers” and Rethymno was taken by Russia at 1898. Crete united with the rest of Greece at 1913, and from 1941-1944, the island was under the German occupation. In the last 25 years, Rethymno has seen significant growth, in economy by the development of tourism and in culture the operation of the university.
Time: Local time is GMT 2 (GMT 3 between
the last Sunday in April and the last Sunday in October)
Electricity: 230V, 50 Hz
Money: The euro is the official currency, divided into 100 cents Banks are open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. ATMs are available in all big cities. In order to exchange cash or traveller’s checks, you need to have your passport with you. In addition, almost all hotels have exchange offices on their front desks. Visa, Master Card and other well known credit cards are accepted by the majority, but not from all shops and services.
Language: Greek is the national language but English is widely spoken.
Climate: Temperature during July on Crete usually ranges from 25o to 35o Celsius