This is one of Crete's most famous monasteries. It played an important role during the years of the Cretan Renaissance, both in the letters and the arts, and, during the last centuries of Venetian rule, it was known for its many scholars, artists and venerable monks.
Eleftherna (Eleutherna) is located on the foothills of Mount Psiloritis, in the heartland of Crete, 25 km. southeastern of Rethymnon. It was inhabited continuously from the Sub-Neolithic period (4th millennium BC) down to the 12th cent. AD and its rich history is now summarized by five hundred selected artifacts unearthed from houses, shrines, public buildings and tombs.
Excavations at Phourni have brought to light 26 buildings, most of which had funerary use. The cemetery was used from 2400 B.C. until 1200 B.C. and each complex had more than one architectural phase. Most of the funerary buildings were used for many decades and contain successive burials. Excavations were begun in 1964 by Efi and John Sakellarakis and have been continued until today (1995) with short interruptions. Most of the buildings are preserved in good condition.
Anemóspilia (GR: Aνεμόσπηλια). A rectangular building with three narrow chambers, each opening into a long corridor to the north, which extends along the whole width of the building. The area is enclosed with a stone wall and the whole structure has been interpreted as a shrine; in the central room was found a "xoanon" (statue) of the deity worshiped here. In the west room, where the altar stood, was uncovered, according to the excavator, the first human sacrifice to have ever taken place in Minoan times. The building at Anemospelia was used for only half a century, as it was suddenly destroyed by an earthquake in the middle of the 17th century B.C. The site was excavated in the summer of 1979 by John Sakellarakis. Aerial View Drawing
At the northernmost edge of the eastern coast of Crete lie the ruins of a settlement which flourished during the Late Minoan period (1550-1220 B.C.). At the same site, however, are preserved remains of the Early and Middle Minoan periods (3000-1550 B.C.), mostly cemeteries with well-built ossuaries, and ruins of spacious houses. The site ceased to be inhabited at the same time when Zakros was abandoned (1450 B.C.) but was reoccupied during the Late Minoan III period (1300-1200 B.C.). The city covered a total area of more than 50,000 sq.m., was densely inhabited but not fortified. To the NE of one of the city's sectors lies the sanctuary of Diktaian Zeus, which belonged administratively to the city of Itanos. Cult practice was continuous from the Geometric period (8th century B.C.) until the Roman conquest. It seems that the sanctuary was plundered and destroyed by fanatic Christians at the end of the 4th century A.D.
The monastery of Gonia (GR: Μονή Γωνιάς) or Panagia Odigitria, is located 1 km north of Kolimbari (along the Spatha penninsula) and 24 km from the city of Chania in a wonderful place with a magnificent view to the bay of Hania. It was built in the 17th century, in the Venetian fortress style, and it is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin. The monastery replaced an older, 13th-century structure, which was located on the territory of an adjacent cemetery.
Behind the "N.Kazantzakis open theatre", in the low square of the Gate of Jesus, was made after the proposal of Manos Hatzidakis and the design of Dionysis Fotopoulos, the Small Open Theatre, that recently named after the famous composer. It is constructed in a way so that is not caused damage in the Venetian Walls, that have been characterized as preservable monuments. In the "Manos Hatzidakis open theatre" (400 - 450 seats), as in "N.Kazantzakis open theatre" a lot of important events took place during the Heraklion Summer Festival.
The bastion heart shaped in plan with an acute angle, has two "piazza bassa" and one cavalier. It defines the southeast and the highest part of the fortification. Its name is due to Gabriele Tadini Martinego (1520) who started the construction of a circular tower at the place of the later bastion. It was one of the strongest bastions (the others were that of Pantocratora and that of Vittouri) which also suffered the main attack and most of the bombardment from the Turks. On the top of the bastion itself there was made a cavalier (which looks like a smaller bastion), whose main purpose was the better defense and control of the area around the bastion.
The grave of Nikos Kazantzakis, the famous Cretan writer, is situated on the highest point of the Venetian fortification at the Martinego cavalier. The inscription by the wooden cross reads: " I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free ", a phrase taken from "The Odyssey" which Kazantzakis considered as one of his most significant works.
The playgrounds of the Academy of the local football team "Ergotelis" are located today on the main bastion and in the ditch around the bastion are the botanical gardens of the city.
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.