Greece, Crete: A Trip to the Largest Greek Island III.
After unveiling gourmet side of the Cretan city rise from the comfortable sitting in one of the local restaurants and we will explore the historical legacy left by several millennia of human habitation.
Well, the millennia of human existence are true, but if you want to see something of the ancient history of the city, it would be best if you visit Archaeological Museum since it would help you to unveil the history. The museum is housed in an old Turkish prison. There are exhibits dating back to the Neolithic period, the period of the Roman Empire. You can see, for example, bronze tools, Minoan pottery, Roman oil lamps or the statue of Aphrodite from the 1st century AD.
The museum is rather a cultural appetizer before the main course in the form Fortezza Rethymnon . Fortress built by the Venetians in the second half of the 16th century on Palaiokastro hill. Plans for this massive fortress drew Sforza Pallavicini. Fortress has four main towers. Inside the walls were in the main building open to the public, of which only a few can also see today.
We visited the fort in a really hot day. To our surprise, we were not the only ones. Dozens of tourists in front of us poured forward through massive eastern gate. We followed the stream. Outside the gates just took us a gift shop. Dozens of statues, amphorae, magnets and other souvenirs, mostly dust collectors, but really nice dust collector. After a while of curious viewing we decided to leave. Just beyond the gate is a small building, where it is necessary to purchase tickets. Regular admission will cost four euros, if you are a student, you will enjoy free browsing strength.
After buying tickets, we again had not gone too far, since opposite a building that once served as a weapons depot and was built in 1581. Today, however, the space reserved for the exhibition of modern Greek art.
In the gallery we spent a few moments, partly for our interest in the exhibited artworks and partly for the fierce heat that prevailed for its walls. The fort can definitely expect to spend at least an hour and a half of time if you want to go through the whole thing. Along the southern part of the alley located in the center of which you will come across a small amphitheater. From here it is also one of the most beautiful views of Rethymno before Venetian walls.
If you go further westwards along the walls, walk to the building, which had the strength to provide protection from the east. In the future, there has housed a restaurant and a permanent exhibition.
Perhaps the most interesting building in the complex is Mosque of Sultan Ibrahim Hanna . When in 1646 the Turks occupied the city wanted to build a mosque dedicated to the above-appointed Sultan. To this end, they seemed like the perfect Venetian building of the cathedral, which eventually rebuilt. Inside the mosque, note its square ground plan and then especially the dome vaults of the supported eight.
To be continued.
Text/photo: Maxim Kucer
The green island of Thassos is situated in Eastern Macedonia. It is green because mountain peaks are covered by pine and olive groves. Its rocky shores are washed by the tranquil Aegean Sea. You will not find any airport or industrial zone. That makes the air here great. Thanks to the marble subsoil, one of the best marbles in the world is mined here.
Today we visit Greece's forgotten corner.
Last time, we wandered around the best beaches you can find near Thessaloniki. Unfortunately, these are not as close for you to reach it on foot. However, beautiful environment should do.
Last Friday, we visited an underground museum that is, honestly, not very interesting except for being underground. Today, our trip goes to other, more interesting museums.
We return to Greece again to see another less known place. Well, more or less...
A delegate of the company we rented our car from had been already waiting for us once we arrived at the airport. It was apparent that there is some fierce competition among car rental companies. The way how they treat their customers is the consequence of the fierce competition. Once we had settled all documents we needed we get in our car and drove to the west. There are no official freeways so you don’t pay any toll.
The longest European gorge of Samaria was another point of interest. The Samaria is located in Crete’s western half. The gorge is in the middle of the White Mountains (in Greek Lefka Ori). The gorge became a national park in 1962 when the inhabitants of Samaria village was displaced. It was situated in the middle of the gorge. Also, the gorge is a world biosphere reserve.
On this day, we planned to make a short trip to the Lefka Ori mountains. Bad weather prevented us from going there. Therefore, we decided to travel to Moni Preveli monastery instead.
We left early in the morning the Agia Galini camp for Phaistos (Faistos) palais. It is considered the second most important Minoan palace (the first one is Knossos). The palace is situated on Kastri Hill which is in central area of the Mesara Plain. Up from there you can get beautiful vista of the Idi mountains.
The next day’s morning we woke up while it was still being dark. Because we spent the night at a cottage, we quickly packed our things. At 6 o’clock we were already heading to Kato Zakros, another important Minoan palace. Unfortunately, the weather was not good. It rained all day. Yet this was no thing that would make us to loose our spirits. At around 8 o’clock we reached our destination. The information in the book guide said it the opening hours start at 8. However, right there we found out it would be at 10. Two hours of additional time meant we made use of them and walked along the coastline.
The last day before leaving Crete by plane we did want to spend in Heraklion. Most of all at the most famous Minoan palace of Knossos. At around 8 o’clock in the morning we left the camp of Sissi. About one hour later we were in front of our hotel. We parked the car and went for Knossos right away. This largest tourist attraction on Crete is only 5 kilometers to the south from Heraklion. Buses depart every twenty minutes for the palace and you pay 3 euro per ticket.
One of the most popular holiday resorts in recent years has been Greek island of Samos, the birthplace of famous Pythagoras. What reason stands behind large numbers of tourists coming there between June and first half of September? There are actually couple of them!
There was a large testing staircase in the center of Asklepion. To ensure good reputation of the hospital, the patients were supposed to walk up the stairs to the sanctuary without any help. If some died, they removed his body quietly in the night so nobody would see it...
I go up a moderate hill to reach Asklepion where Hippocrates had his “office”. How Asklepios became a god? It was like this: Appollo, a god of health, wanted to teach his son Asklepios. He perfected heiling powers and thus became the god of medicine.
Based on Hippocrates the present Hippocratic oath was formed. Right in a shop I buy a papyrus with full oath in Czech!
Today we travel to Greek island of Kos. I met there Iva, a nice Czech, so we travel together. On the ship are all kinds of nationalities – French, Italians, Germans, English, Hungarians and us, Czechs! It is funny that I understand almost everyone yet they don’t have a clue. Our journey is pleasant. It takes around 50 minutes.
In today’s article we say farewell to Crete. This farewell is will be more in historc manner for we visit the most important landmark in the island – the palace of Knossos.
Last look at Agios Nikolaos and a trip to Spinalonga.
In Rethymno we have already spent a lot of time. We saw something of its historic heritage, even if there is yet much more to see. We just randomly mention some of them.
We left Rethymno. It slowly fades behind us. We travel towards Cretan nature in the Samaria gorge.
After Samaria we move today to Agios Nikolaos.
Last week we have lured to you to our trip to Crete. This hilly island hides many things, no healthy tourist would miss that. Today we will take a look on one of the largest cities of Crete, Rethymno. First, we will talk about local cuisine. Next week will visit some landmarks.
After several articles on London we jump across Europe to the Mediterranean, actually to the east part of the sea. Today we will have a taste of sun after rains of London, and warm waters of the Sea of Crete.
Local people don´t call the island other way than tell Zante. This home of giant tortoises, not about a typical Greek island with countless historical monuments, but if you will go there, you spend nice a very pleasant holiday, at which you will surely like to remember.
The fashion is to fly to exotic countries and bring home the images of white beaches. Paradise of islands, beaches and beautiful nature hides a much closer - in Europe. Greece is a country, that you can´t know during one summer vacation - you'll want to come back again and again.
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