The Nerantze Mosque (Municipal Music School)

The Nerantze Mosque is one of the most impressive and best preserved monuments of the old town of Rethymnon which, like many other buildings, underwent changes, as did the city itself.

In the Venetian period, it functioned as a church of Santa Maria (the Virgin Mary of the Augustinian Order), and a chapel dedicated to Corpus Christi was built next to it. When the city was seized by the Turks, the church was turned into a mosque dedicated to the conqueror of Rethymnon, Gazi Huseyin Pasha; however, it was more commonly known as the Nerantze Mosque (1657). Later during the Turkish rule, the Venetian terra-cotta tile roof was replaced by the three characteristic domes that can be seen today, and the church was converted into an Ottoman Seminary (theological school), with a minaret added to it. More specifically, the minaret was built in 1890, according to designs made by George Daskalakis, a famous Rethymnian civil engineer of the time. 

The Council of Turkish Elders aspired to create the most impressive minaret in the East, and the truth is that this new addition, standing 27 metres high and having two balconies, turned out to be the largest and most imposing minaret in Rethymnon.

Today, the former mosque operates as the Municipal Music School. Restoration works have brought to light dozens of graves, which were found under the Venetian-era floor. As for the carved surround of the door, it is one of the most impressive and elaborate samples of Renaissance architecture that can be seen in Rethymnon. 

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Additional Info

  • location Mikrasiaton Square, Rethymnon city, Rethymno, Rethymno
  • type Architecture
  • time period Venetians, Turkish Occupation
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