On the face of it, Rethymnon has relatively few ancient sites compared to those of the other three Cretan nomoi; certainly far fewer than its more easterly neighbours, Herakleion and Lasithi. There is an advantage in this: most sites here are rarely visited, giving those with the sense of historical adventure, the ideal opportunity to see some ancient places in their own time, and at their own pace. These sites are Minoan through Roman.
Sites worth visiting include those at Monastiraki in the Amari valley where a rare example of a Minoan structure (dating from around 1700 BC) is a short distance outside the village of the same name. Finds here suggest a close relationship with Phaistos. Armenoi (or Armeni) – some 8km south of Rethymnon and 2km north of the modern village of the same name – has a very important Minoan cemetery, with tombs cut into the hard rock. The site from whence the bodies came has yet to be discovered, although it must be reasonably close by.
Photo (cover): www.destinationcrete.gr