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The walled Venetian fortress was built in 1573 high on the rocky hill of Palaiokastro overlooking Rethymno.
The Fortezza (Greek: Φορτέτζα, from Italian for “fortress”) is the citadel of the city of Rethymno and was built by the Venetians in the 16th century, and was captured by the Ottomans in 1646.
By the early 20th century, many houses were built within the citadel. These were demolished after World War II, leaving only a few historic buildings within the Fortezza.
You’ll need at least two hours to explore its bastions, ramparts and underground munitions vaults. The fortress was built to protect the town from pirates and Turkish invaders.
On day 22 of a siege the Turks invaded and penetrated the fort. They turned the old church of St Nicholas into a mosque – go inside to see the lovely dome and mihrab which is niche that points towards Mecca. The fort has panoramic views over the town and it’s the perfect spot to watch the sun set into the horizon.
If you fancy a sundowner to go with your sunset you could bag a table at ‘Sunset Bar’ by the sea wall below the fort.