The 16th century Monastery of Arkadi (located 23 km south-east of Rethymnon) is a great symbol of Crete. During the revolution of 1866 against Turks, around 900 Cretans (fighters and locals) took refuge here. Instead of surrendering they preferred to blow up their gunpowder stores killing themselves and many of the conquerors. Totally 3,000 Turks and Egyptians were killed in the whole battle. This tragedy echoed around the world, but it took another 30 years before Crete became free.
Every year on the 8th of November, which is the national day of remembrance of this tragedy, hundreds of people gather at the monastery to pay tribute to the martyrs (tel: 28310 83076). Unesco has characterised Arkadi as a european monument of freedom.