Roussospiti

Roussospiti is one of the many villages in the prefecture of Rethymno, located 7 km far from the city of Rethymno on a slope of the Vrysinas Mountain.

Built at an altitude of 300 meters, Roussospiti is divided into Pano and Kato settlements with a splendid view at the Cretan Sea, that is why it also known as “the balcony of Rethymno”. The village was founded by the Venetians in the 12th century. The buildings of the village are constructed in the Venetian style with arches and gates, door frames and fort-like facades. There is also a fountain dating to the 17th century.

There are two versions explaining the origins of the name of Roussospiti. The first mentions a house painted in rousso (red). The other speaks about one Russian woman, who settled there because of village’s climate and after her doctors’ recommendations, in order to recover from a disease that tormented her. After her recovery, she grew fond of the village and built a house to live there till the end of her life. The rumor has it that there is her blazon on a dilapidated house.

The Roussospiti, currently inhabited by approximately 350 residents, in the past, has frequently been a battlefield. In 1822, at location Petalo (Horseshoe), the French philhellene Valestra and the Kokkinos (Chios) were captured prisoners, while during the revolution of 1866, a great battle took place in the region and the Turks had burnt the village. Later, the inhabitants returned and rebuilt it. In the revolution of 1896, the residents were forced to flee in order to escape the fury of the Turks. The arrested residents of Roussospiti escaped death, thanks to the intervention of Bishop Dionysios Kstrinogiannakis, while inside the church of Panagia (the Virgin), the Turks, as usual, pierced the eyes of the saints on the frescoes of the church with their spears. Apart from Panagia (the Virgin), there are two other churches in the village of Roussospiti, the church of Agia Paraskevi, holding a great feast on July 26, and Agios Onoufrios.