Megali Porta (the Great Gate)

Megali Porta, a name given by the locals, is an attraction inside the Rethymno city located on Ethnikis Antistaseos Street and it is the entrance to the Old Town.

The Megali Porta, (or Guora Gate or Porta Guora) which opened its gates at dawn and closed at night, was built during the rule of Governor Jocopo Guoro (1566-1568), who it was named after. This is one of the few attractions remaining from the Venetian Rethymno’s fortifications. (The fortifications based on the plans of Michele Sammicheli and built in 1540-1570, were gradually demolished by the continuous expansion of the settlement, especially after the Turkish taking over).

Formed by ashlar stones creating a semi-circular arch 2.60 meters wide, the Megali Porta, being next to the bastion of Santa Veneranda, was the main gate of the fortified city and lead to the central square with the most important buildings, such as Lotzia, the Rimonti fountain and the Clock Tower. There were an architrave and a pediment on the beam of the gate, where an embossed Venetian symbol, Lion of St. Mark, prevailed. Today, the embossment remains in two pieces in the yard of Lotzia.

The clear span of the Megali Porta was 3.1 meters, while the original height up to the arch was 6 meters. The leaves of the gate were made of wood with outside metallic cladding, almost all of the castle gates were made this way.

Apart from the Megali Porta, there were two more secondary gates, the Ammou Gate (just before the bastion of Agia Varvara) and the Marmaroporta. However, the Rethymno city was still unprotected from the seaside, making it vulnerable to the Ulutz Ali’s invasion and the following destruction in 1571.

Next to the Megali Porta, the Megali Porta Mosque was built in 1670, dedicated to Valide Sultan, Sultan Imp Rahim’s mother.

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