Rethymno started growing again when the Venetian conquerors of the island wanted to have an intermediate commercial station between Heraklion and Chania acquiring its own bishop and nobility. Today's old town (palia poli) is almost entirely built by Venetians. It is one of the best preserved old towns in Crete. The town still maintains its old aristocratic appearance, with its buildings dating from the 16th century, arched doorways, stone staircases, Byzantine and Hellenic-Roman remains, small Venetian harbor and narrow streets. The Venetian Loggia today houses the information office of the ministry of culture. The big municipal gardens are ideal for those in search of shade and tranquility. Throughout the year various activities are organized which draw a large crowd. The Wine Festival is held there annually at the beginning of July. Another festival is held on the 7-8th of November, in memory of the destruction of Arkadi Monastery.
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