Rethymno: Information about Rethymno

Excursions in Rethymno: Excursions in the island of Rethymno, Greece, Crete

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Arkadi monastery
The most significant monastery of Rethymno and maybe the most important in Crete. It is situated 23 Km from the town of Rethymno and is built overlooking three districts. Established in the 14th or 15th century, it constituted an important revolutionary centre during the Turkish occupation. The martyrdom of its defenders in 1866 made it well known:
"When the Turkish Pasha in Rethymnon learned of the rebels operating out of the monastery, he sent an ultimatum to Arkadi's Abbot Gabriel Marinakis: either expel the revolutionary committee or the monastery would be destroyed. Abbot Gabriel refused the Pasha's demand.


The rebels began preparing the monastery for the anticipated Turkish attack. On 7 November 1866 the Turks under Mustafa Kyrtil Pasha with 15,000 Turkish soldiers armed with 30 cannons attacked Arkadi and after 2 day siege they breached the walls. Then a fighter named Konstantine Giaboudakis set fire to gunpowder room, blowing up Greeks and Turks. 864 Cretan men, women and children were dead along with 1500 Turks. The Turks took 114 prisoners whom they immediately put to death. Only 3 rebels managed to escape to tell the story". (source by STIGMES, the magazine of Crete)
The event shocked Europe and won much support Cretan independence. In 1898, Crete won its independence and the Turks withdrew from the island, which they had held since 1669.
The gunpowder room where the blast left a gaping hole in the roof can be visited.

Melidoni cave:
It has been proved that the cave was used as a central place of worship from the early Neolithic age up until the Roman period. An inscription gives evidence of the fact that Hermes was worshipped in this cave. It also played an important role during modern times, more precisely during the Turkish occupation. In January 1834, the Turks besieged the cave, where 370 inhabitants of the village of Melidoni had found shelter, set it on fire and suffocated everybody in it. Their bones are preserved in the memorial sarcophagus situated in the first hall. The cave is open to visitors.


Preveli monastery:
The Monastery has a glorious history due to the active and leading involvement of its fellow monks in all national endeavourers for freedom and education. This monastery is comprised of two separate building complexes which are 3 kms apart. There are strong indications that the first core of the Monastery was organized on the area of the Monastery of Saint John the Baptist or Kato Monastiri (the lower monastery), during the II Byzantine period of Crete, around the 10th or the beginning of the 11th century, when many monasteries were established on the south coast of Crete. The oldest date related to the monastery is 1594, and it is engraved on a bell of the monastery. A feudal lord known as Prevelis probably founded the monastery during the Venetian occupation. When in 1649 the Turks occupied Crete, they destroyed numerous church establishments, among them the monastery of Preveli.










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