The refined artistic and cultural aspects of Rethymno are not as prevalent, nor as well known to visitors as our bubbly resorts, the region’s centuries old villages, or even the mystical tranquility of our diverse natural wonders. However obscured the city’s art scene may be though, the rich surprise that awaits you here is nonetheless worth mentioning. For the art lover, this Cretan paradise is an amazing treasure trove of diversity creations and exhibits.
In order to reveal Rethymno’s wonderful artistic treasures, there’s no better place to begin than Old Town’s Center for Byzantine Art. Situated inside a restored Venetian/Turkish mansion, the center reveals the Turkish influence on Crete via the building’s architecture. Not too far away, the Mosque “Neratzes” and other beautiful edifices testify to the city’s multicultural influences. Then there’s the Historical and Folklore Museum, just next door to the mosque, has five halls housing collections of textiles, embroidery, costumes, and ceramics from the 17th thru 20th centuries. Within shouting distance of these, The Municipal Gallery is situated beneath the Fortrezza and the Archaeological Museum. There you’ll find the permanent collection of the famous Leuteris Kanakakis, and other noted artists.
Then, switching from the institutional to the local artisan scene, Rethymno’s Nikos Siragas Wood Art Museum affords the up close and personal experience of Greece’s only internationally featured wood turning artist. Here you’ll find unique turned, sculpted handcrafted art pieces which represent local materials and traditions wonderfully. A contingent of small local galleries such as the Valari Art Gallery, they play host to any number of local artists’ exhibitions throughout the year. As for still smaller artistic diversions, arts and crafts enthusiasts will find myriad tiny shops that offer everything from jewelry to hand fired cermanics. The Hydria Ceramics Workshop is one of these, where beautiful pottery and ceramic pieces are made right on site.
While Rethymno is not as prolific in presenting massive exhibitions as Athens, or even Heraklion to the east of the island, those who come to the city will find a fair share of wonderful creativity and culture. Why our own Gallery restaurant serves the dual purpose of culinary art meets eclectic art exhibition hall. Gallery is unique, and is exclusively available to guests staying in the Independent Pool Suites and Rooms. The superb combination of light, space and materials creates a contemporary ambiance, romantic and almost utopian.
The exclusive character of the eatery is further enhanced by windows opening towards the endless Cretan Sea: you could hardly be closer to the spirit of Panormo.
Not as dramatic as the setting, yet equally rewarding in textures and flavors, is the rich buffet of the restaurant, the culinary artistic side of Gallery, a perfect mix of pure Cretan produce, delivered with minimum fuss. This is where you pick your favorites, to pair them with your preferred bottle of wine from our extensive list of local and international labels.
No matter where you turn in Rethymno, from the architecture to the artisans painting portraits by the fortress, our fair town is a work of art itself. Come see for yourself.