We visit Rethymnon and Knossos, Crete

The restored north entrance to Knossos Palace, with the charging bull fresco.

On our second day, we went to Knossos, which has the distinction of being the earliest inhabited site in Crete; the first settlers having arrived some time before 7000 BC. First excavated by Minos Kalokairinos in 1878, the major excavations at Knossos were carried out by Arthur Evans, a Victorian amateur archaeologist.

Dolphins were revered by the ancient Greeks and Romans. These were originally 
a floor covering, which was later hung on the wall when restored.

This, the "royal road", is one of the oldest and best preserved ancient roads in Europe.

Here,we are listening to Çiğdem transporting us back in time!

From Knossos, we were whisked off to the tiny village of Fodele, where the museum of Domenikos Theotokopoulos (1541 – 1614), otherwise known as El Greco, is hidden away at the end of a long lane. The tiny stone cottage which houses the museum lays claim to being the birthplace of El Greco, although there is some doubt about this.

This room in the museum looks as if El Greco has just stepped outside for a moment!

We wondered whether Black Adder got his inspiration from El Greco!

Lunch was calling, but we still had visits to make, so we headed for Rethymnon, our next port of call. Looming over the town is Fortezza, the Venetian fortress of Rethymnon.

Within the Fortezza is the Fortezza mosque, with its impressive dome. Originally built by the Venetians in the 16th century as the Catholic Cathedral of St Nicholas,  it was converted into the Ottoman Mosque of the Sultan Ibrahim Han, following the fall of Rethymnon to the Turks. Today, it is used as a concert hall as the acoustics are amazing!

Here we are inside the Fortezza Mosque

The richly decorated Rimondi fountain, is situated at Platanos square, the centre of the Venetian town. It was built in 1626, by A.Rimondi, in order to provide the citizens with drinkable water.

Finally, it was time for lunch in a delightful, waterside restaurant, where the waiter serenaded us!

Lunch over, we wandered through the old town of Rethymnon. Unlike Heraklion, this is an attractive town, with evidence of Ottoman and Renaissance-style Venetian architecture.

 Evidence of Rethymnon's Ottoman past

We saw many fine old Ottoman buildings in Rethymnon

When we got to our hotel in Rethymnon, I followed the porter to my room along a long corridor. At the end, I could only see houses through the window. I had resigned myself to a room at the back, until I opened the curtains in my room, and saw this...

Wow! What a view!

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