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The department of Rethymnon
The department of Rethymnois between the department of chania and that of Iraklio. To the north, the Sea of Crete. To the south, the Libyan Sea. The capital: RETHYMNO, is 58 kilometers from Xania and 78 kilometers from Heraklio.
The urban area runs along the sandy beach. The land was bought for a pittance by foreign investors, the big high-yield hotels were installed there, concreted and soulless ... It is better to get out of the tourist area and stay further away, outside inland. We will therefore avoid the north of this region, just like the north ofDepartment of Xaniaor northern dHeraklio department.
The department of Rethymnon is particularly mountainous. The plains are limited to the northern coasts. There are few rivers (Milopotamos and Prévéli river).
Mount Ida or Psiloritisis located in the department of Rethymnon. (2456 meters). The mountain range of Kedrous, (1777 m) southwest of Psiloritis delimits the beautiful valley of Amari. To the north east of the department is Mount Kouloukounas, or Mount Talaia, (1083 m) and to the south west Mount Krioneritis (1312 m).
There is no doubt as to the human presence duringthe minoan period. The most convincing testimonies come from inscriptions and coins dating from the 4th century BC The stones cut on the natural rock of the hill of Palaiokastro are proof of the existence of a building at this place.
A first Byzantine period, between 325 and 824, then the Arab occupation between 824 and 961. A second Byzantine period between 961 and 1204, thanks toNikiforos Fokas, who liberated Crete from the Arab yoke. And then, the arrival of the Venetians, in 1204. It was during this period that the city was surrounded by a wall and the Castrum Rethemi was built in its first form (Castel Vecchio). In 1206, the pirate Enrico Pescatore, (from Genoa) seized the island, until 1210. It was then again taken over by the Venetians. Despite the numerous revolts of the Cretans, the Venetians kept the island. They are the ones who divided the island into 4 departments. It was only after the fall of Constantinople (in 1453) that fortifications were erected, until 1570. The fortress was built from 1573. This is how the Venetian administration, the Latin episcopate and the military authorities were protected. It is from the 16th century that the "Renaissance" of the city took place. (Very luxurious public and private buildings). The central square, the Rimondi fountain and the "house of the nobility" (the Loggia) date from this period.
This is how, in a relatively intelligent way, Greek culture and Venetian culture cohabited.
More than 850 caves in the department of Rethymnon, such as that of Melidoni (infamous), Gerani, magical, with its stalagmites, Sfedoni, 550 m long and with an area of 3300 m2 or Agios Antonios, in Patsos, place of great worship...
Between 14 and 35 degrees in this department. A large winter/summer range. Strong winds, which have a great influence on temperatures.
A very large number of endemic plants in this region. There are about 2000 species of plants, of which 160 are endemic. Vegetation is reduced from year to year, due to uncontrolled grazing and fires. The plains are used for agriculture, for greenhouses, which diminishes certain species of plants. The classification of plants is done according to altitude: in the coastal zone, we find plants favored by humidity and salinity, such assea daffodil and tamarisk, as well as thefamous Cretan palm.In the plains zone, we find bushes (maquis type) such aslentiskor evenoleander or osier, chamomile, heather or wild carrots.The submontane zone rises up to 800 meters above sea level, and there are bushes such asholly, thyme, strawberry tree, devil's turnip, broom or the cyclamen of Crete. Wildflowers are there in abundance:the Iris, the gouet, the gladiolus, the tulip, certain species of Orchids, the violets, the Crocus...In the region of Rethymno alone, there are nearly 50 species of Orchids, half of which belong to the genus "Orphrys". On the plateau of Yous Kambos, many hybridizations are in progress, new species are being born... This plateau, exceptionally worthy of interest, constitutes one of the most important biotopes of the department.