Arkadi, the exact date of the foundation of the monastery is not known, but it is believed that it was founded by Byzantine Emperor Arkadios in the 12th century. Arkadi is certainly the most historic monastery of Crete and has become the most sacred symbol of the struggle of the Cretans for freedom. During the Turkish occupation, the Cretans made many revolutionary movements and Arkadi was the theatre of the tragic battle of 1866, which opened the way for the liberationof the island in 1898. Indeed, UNESCO has designated Arkadi as a European Freedom Monument.
The town of Rethymno still maintains its old aristocratic appearance, with its buildings dating from the 16th century, arched doorways, stone staircases, Byzantine & Hellenic -Roman remains. Moreover the small Venetian harbour with its many fish restaurants, the narrow streets, full of picturesque shops, tavernas and bars bring life to this ancient city.