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Prefectures and Provinces of Crete - Rethimnon

The prefecture of Rethimnon
Rethimnon is one of the four prefectures (nomos) of Crete. It lies between the prefecture of Iraklion and the prefecture of Chania, and consists of four provinces (eparhies): Rethimnon, Milopotamos, Amari, and Agios Vasilios. The province of Rethimnon is in the northwestern part of the prefecture. Milopotamos is on the eastern side, bordering the prefecture of Iraklion. Amari is in the uplands, bordering the other three provinces, and Agios Vasilios is Rethimnon's province on the Libyan Sea. The main cities of the Nomos are Rethimnon, Agia Galini, Anogia, Amari.
These two provinces of Rethimnon and Milopotamos occupy all the area on the north coast of the prefecture of Rethimnon. The entire area is easily reached from the city of Rethimnon. The roads in the provinces are good, usually paved, but narrow and winding. The excursions in this area go east and west along the picturesque Old Road between Rethimnon and Chania and Rethimnon and Iraklion. The construction of the National Road isolated these small villages in the 70s but this adds to their attraction. Hidden among these villages are Minoan sanctuaries, cemeteries, villas, and palaces.
There are many Byzantine churches in the prefecture of Rethimnon. Some of the later churches have interesting frescoes such as the Panagia Kardiotissa in Miriokefala. The church in Moni Arkadiou is one of the finest examples of Venetian influence on the architecture of the time and the monastery a symbol of the love of and sacrifice for freedom. There are many caves where objects from Neolithic times have been found. More recently, the Cretans used these caves during the Turkish and German occupations.
Rethimnon is an area of traditional villages (Anogia), Byzantine churches, and ancient sites. The Oropedio Nida, one of the most beautiful and historic plateaus in Crete, is high in the Psiloritis Mountains. The Ideon Andron Cave in Nida is reputed to be the birthplace of Zeus or the place where Zeus was raised, according to others.
The province of Agios Vasilios is one of four in the prefecture of Rethimnon. It stretches west, from the prefecture of Chania, south along all the coast of Rethimnon to the prefecture of Iraklion. The eastern portion of the province contains the Kedros mountain range with the highest peak at 1,777 metres above sea level. The easiest and shortest road from Rethimnon to southern Crete is through Agios Vasilios. In the area there are ravines, Byzantine churches and pleasant villages that are relatively unaffected by the tourist population moving through them. There are also spectacular views of the bay of Plakias and southern Crete from the road.
The Amari Valley, southeast of Rethimnon runs from north to south Crete for 25km. The valley is 400 - 500 metres above sea level. The peak of Psiloritis (2,545 metres above sea level) is on the east and Kedros (1,777 metres above sea level) is on the west. It is a major north - south pass and has seen a great deal of action throughout history. The Amari Valley is a fertile valley where many varieties of fruit trees are grown and a great number of well - preserved Byzantine churches may be seen.