The Prefecture of Rethymno is an area of mountainous terrain and seaside spots, impressive gorges, numerous caves and sandy beaches. The capital Rethymno is the third in population town of the island; it is the commercial, administrative and cultural center of the area. Its historic center preserves its medieval character (3000 preserved buildings).
The human action in the area starts in the 6th millennium BC, people that lived in caves and used stone tools. The Bronze Age that followed helped to the transition to the Minoan miracle (2600-1100BC). The coming of the Dorians in 1100 BC brought changes as the inhabitant’s found shelter in mountainous regions in which they built cities that cut their own coins.
After the Roman conquest the towns found their rhythm and the transition to the Byzantine times was untroubled. In 823-828 AD the area was conquered by the Arabs for 150 years. In 960 it was claimed back. In 1204 AD it was conquered by the Venetians for 450 years and it evolved in an important cultural center. The Venetians fortified the city and many churches were built. In 1646 AD it was conquered by the Turks for 250 years. In 1821 AD the Greek revolution started resulting in many massacres by the Turks. During the first months of the revolution 700 woman and children and several hundred warriors, all under siege committed suicide by exploding themselves in the Arkadiou Monastery. In 1897 Crete became autonomous and in 1913 it was united with Greece.