Built on Paleokastro hill, above the west part of Rethymno city, the Venetian Fortezza fortress has been protecting the city since 1573, when it was created by the Venetians. It can be seen form every corner in the city, and it provides a panoramic view of the Venetian port and the rest of Rethymno city.
It was built in order to protect the city from the raids by pirate Oloutz Ali. Withing the walls, however, after it was completed in 1580, only the Venetian garrison could be found, as the space was not big enough for everybody.
After the city was taken over by the Turks in 1646, the fortress was greatly damaged. However, some additions have taken place at the ditches and around the walls.
Nowadays one can see the central gate at the eastern part between the St. Loukas and St. Nicolas bastions, remnants of Rector's residence (Venetian commander), St. Nicolas cathedral (turned into a mosque during the Ottoman Occupation),powder magazines, water tanks, artillery warehouses and some buildings that are not identified as the archaeologists have very little information about them.
Nowadays, several cultural events, exhibitions and plays take place in Fortezza fortress