Loggia

The Loggia is a majestic square building in the Old Town district in Rethymno at the junction of Arkadiou and K. Paleologou Streets. The Loggia was built in the 16th century designed by the famous Venetian architect Michel Sanmicheli. It was the Venetian club, a place for the nobles to meet and discuss issues relating to commerce, politics and economics. It functioned as a recreational and gambling area at the same time. The initial design of the Loggia remains intact with the only change being the addition of another storey in 1625. Although it was built to face the standards of Venice and Heraklio, the Loggia of Rethymno is deemed lacking in magnificence. Today, the building is very well preserved; it is a square structure with arches on the three facades (except the west).

The Loggia is probably the oldest public building in the city and one of the few that survived the raid of Ouloutz-Ali in 1571. At that time, indeed, it stood in front of the sea, since then there were no buildings to the north of the Arkadi Street.

Immediately after the Turkish conquest of the city in 1646, the Loggia was converted into a mosque dedicated to Hajji Hussein, the conqueror of Rethymno. There was also a minaret constructed near the mosque, but it was demolished in 1930. In 1924 the building became property of the National Bank and as of 1950 of the Archaeological Service. In recent years it housed the Archaeological Museum of the city until it was transferred outside the Fortezza Fortress. Until present day, it housed a shop of art copies of the Archaeological Receipts Fund.

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