Turkish school

The Turkish School in Rethymno prefecture is the oldest school building in the heart of the Old Town, next to the church of Agios Frangiskos (Saint Francis). This imposing neoclassical building (it is still being used as a school and currently the 1st Primary School of Rethymno operates there) housed the Ottoman girls’ school founded in 1795 and reconstructed in 1890 replacing the previous one.

The Turkish School was constructed by Klapsa Edehem Bey, according to the Turkish marble inscription on the west gate at the end of Papamichelaki Street. The Edehem Bey belonged to a Turkish family Klapsarides that resided in Rethymno. Apart from the Turkish School, he also built many fountains throughout the city. For the reconstruction of the building in 1890 George Daskalakis was in charge, a chief engineer of the time.

The Turkish School is located next to the church of Agios Frangiskos. The Turks narrowed the Venetian exterior doorway by building a smaller one inside. The space between the two doorways is decorated with a spectacular carved grapevine and two damaged embossed lions can still be seen at the bases of the pilasters astride. A bit higher, mosques with crescent moon, the symbol of the Ottoman Empire, stand out.

In Turkish School the girls were taught Turkish, dressmaking courses and the art of household. Greek lady-teachers also taught the Greek language. In 1923 after the population exchange with the Treaty of Lausanne, the school now housed only Greek students and in 1929 was converted into a mixed school.

The Turkish School consists of 11 classrooms, of which six are located on the ground floor and 5 upstairs. On the north side there is a main entrance, while around both floors there are 15 arched windows per floor. The two angular windows were added during recent restoration for earthquake protection.

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