The Fortezza castle, at the top of a low hill named "Palaiokastro" dominates the town. It was built in 1590 to protect the city from the pirates raids and the Turks. The name "Palaiokastro which means 'The old Castle' was in use even by the Venetians which demonstrates the existance of an even older castle at this place. - Probably the acropolis of the ancient town of Rithymna. The interior of Fortezza accommodated the following basic buildings: the storeroom of the artillery, where canons and weapons were kept, the residence of the Councilors, where one of the city's two Venetian councilors lived, the residence of the Rector, which represented a luxurious, magnificent building in the central square of the fortress. Today parts of those buildings, as well as of some others built later, can be seen. The view from up there is magnificent, especially at night. The municipal theatre "Erofili" stands also at Fortezza's premises. It is an outdoor theatre that hosts almost all the performances during the Renaissance Festival.
The Contemporary Art Museum of Crete was founded in 1992 as Municipal Gallery ‘L. Kanakakis'. It is housed in a Venetian building at the old city of Rethymno, below the Fortezza fortress and the Archaeological Museum. It houses a permanent exhibition of the work of Lefteris Kanakakis (oil paintings, sketches and aquarelles), thus representing all the stages of his achievements, as well as works of contemporary Greek artists, which cover a broad spectrum of modern Greek art as it has been accomplished from 1950 until today.
It is located just opposite the entrance of the fortress (Fortezza). It exhibits objects from the Neolithic to the Roman period, found at the prefecture of Rethymno (mainly Eleftherna, Monastiraki and Armeni). Clay figurines, funerary coffers, grave offerings, statues, grave steles, red-figure vases, bronze vessels, jewellery and glass vases, are some of the objects on display.
Loggia has been built during the 16th century and was designed by the famous architect Michel Snamicheli. Loggia was an eminent building of the city centre and has been a meeting point for the nobles to discuss political and economical issues. The building is very well preserved; it is square and has arches on its three sides (besides its west side). The consoles of its eaves are spectacular. During the Turkish occupation the loggia became a mosque and a minaret was constructed, which was later demolished in 1930. The past 40 decades the building of Loggia hosted the archaeological museum of the city, which has now moved to a building next to Fortezza. Today loggia hosts a market of archaeological art copies.
During Venetian occupation the mosque Neratzes, which today is used as a conservatory, was the Augustinian church of the Holy Virgin. In 1657 the Turks transformed it into the mosque 'Gazi Housein' or 'Neratze', and in 1890 they added a large minaret with two galleries, which was built from the famous stones from the village of Alfa. The chapel of the Holy Virgin, situated at its west side and dedicated to the Body of Christ, was also transformed into a seminary. Outstanding elements of this building are the doorframe and the three domes.
A. Rimondi, the Rector of the city, built the famous Rimondi Fountain, which is situated at present day Platanos Square, formerly the centre of Venetian city life, in 1626. The water runs from three spouts in the shape of a lion's head into three sinks. Three small, fluted columns, ornamented with Corinthian capitals are "standing" on the sinks. Above the capitals an entablature can be observed, the middle part of which displays four projections in the shape of the leaves of the acanthus exactly above the columns. Furthermore in this section the words LIBERALITATIS and FONTES are inscribed.
The Historical and Folklore Museum of Rethymno is located next to the Neratze Mosque. It is an institution of public benefit, founded in 1973 by the President of the Historical and Folklore Institution, Christoforos Stavroulakis, and Fali Vogiatzaki. The museum is housed in a restored Venetian building with an interior courtyard. The building is a wonderful piece of urban residence of the last phase of the Venetian occupation of Crete, built in the renaissance style by traditional craftsmen.
The church of Saint Francis is one of the most important monuments of Rethymno. It was the main temple of the Monastery of the Franciscan Order. The architecture of the building - a single aisle Basilica type with wooden roof - and its ornaments are very interesting. Next to the east side of the temple two deserted chapels are preserved. Its Corinthian style main doorway is impressive, with capitals of composite order. During recent excavations around the church valuable archeological findings have been discovered, including two tombs of Venetian nobles. During the Turkish occupation the temple was turned into an "Imaret" (a shelter for the poor). It was also used as a cultural center until 1996. It was recently renovated to accommodate the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Collection of the Prefecture of Rethymno.
The Mosque took its name from the Turkish commander of the marine operations to conquer Rethymno, in 1646. During the Venetian Period, the Mosque became a monastery dedicated to St. Barbara. West from the central building, there is the deserted minaret of the mosque. The fountain of the Mosque is attached to the roofed entrance of the Mosque's garden, where believers washed before entering the Mosque and provided the area with fresh spring water.
The square of Mikrasiaton (GR: Πλατεία Μικρασιατών) formerly the 1st primary school square, in Rethymnon town, covers an area of 7,500 square meters, right at the heart of the city's historical center. It is surrounded by valuable monuments and beautiful buildings, mainly used as cultural centers. There, visitors have the opportunity to rest in a peaceful environment and at the same time visit the various monuments and cultural centers located in the area.