|Rethymnon has a rich and varied history that spans thousands of
years. Findings from caves in the region provide evidence of human
habitation that dates back to Neolithic times. Findings from
within the town indicate that Rethymnon itself has been inhabited since
the late Minoan Era. During the 3rd and 4th Centuries BC the
autonomous state of Rithymna was of sufficient importance to issue its
The Venetian rule saw Rethymnon flourishing as a commercial, artistic and administrative centre. The Venetians created a harbour, built extensive fortifications - including the impressive Fortezza which still dominates the town today - and constructed distinctive monuments such as the Rimondi Fountain and the Loggia.
During the Turkish occupation Rethymnon fell somewhat into decline. However the town did become an important centre for local resistance in Crete's battle for independence. The Turks also left their mark architecturally, most notably in the modifications they made to Venetian buildings and in the construction of minarets and mosques.
In 1913, Rethymnon, along with the rest of Crete became unified with Greece. During the Second World War local inhabitants played an extremely active role in resisting the Nazi occupation; townspeople and villagers frequently risking their own lives in the process.
In recent decades Rethymnon has continued to grow and prosper - as a centre for local industry, tourism and a seat of learning. To find out more about the history of Rethymnon, please select the menu options to the left of this page.