Rethymnon, the Venetian Loggia
The Venetian Loggia of Rethymnon is a square building with arched fronts on three sides. It is particularly well built, possibly according to plans by the famous Veronese engineer Michele Sanmicheli. Originally it was open and covered with a wooden roof, which was replaced with an upper storey in 1625. The most splendid example of this type of building in Crete is the Loggia in Heraklion.
The original 16th-century building is preserved almost intact. The Loggia was a meeting-place for the Venetian nobility and officials, a sort of officers' mess where they discussed trade and politics.
After the fall of Rethymnon to the Turks, the Loggia was converted into a mosque. A minaret was built on the west side but this was pulled down in the 1930s.
To reach the Loggia from the Venetian harbour, we enter the narrow alleyway near the centre of the harbour and walk a few yards. We will see the impressive Loggia directly opposite. Today it belongs to the Ministry of Culture and houses the Archaeological Receipts Fund, where you can buy archaeological guide books and casts of important sculptures from all over Greece.