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Beautiful Doors of Crete

A Collaborative Art Project

Doors of Crete by Dalius Art - twig pen and ink

The character and beauty of the Doors of Crete have been reflected by a visitor to the island, Dalius Regelskis, who came with an artist's soul and eye to understand Kriti and her culture.

It is inspiring to see such deep understanding of a culture from a visitor, it is clear that the passion for Crete has developed for this artist and architect, a polymath from Lithuania, currently lecturing in architecture at the Vilnius Academy of Arts as Associate Professor.

In an inspired collaborative project around 100-year-old doors of Crete, this artist has partnered with local Manolis Maragoudakis of Vederi village in Rethymnon, who has added poetry to the fine art pieces.

The sensibilities close to the heart of the Cretan people have arisen in Dalius and enriched not only his own life but all who appreciate the culture, history and architecture of Crete.

© All art images are copyright of Dalius Art - please see the artist's site to purchase artwork directly - please click on the images ©

Doorway from Margarites

Mantinades of Crete

The beauty of this collaboration is that each door has been matched with a mantinada poem by Manolis Maragoudakis. For example the doorway above, from Margarites Village in Rethymnon has the mantinada translated as:

"Who was that master, that great wood carver, that passionate artisan, who created these doors on the island of Crete?"

A Door From Adele Village

"I want to marry a girl in Adele, a village of such nice people,
hoping that I will be given olive groves as a wedding gift!"

About the Artists

Maragoudakis and Regelskis - a friendship that created unique artMaragoudakis and Regelskis - a friendship that created unique art

"I found Crete eleven years ago arriving with my family as an ordinary tourist and I lost my head for this amazing island in one breath. Since then we used to spend every summer here," says Regelskis.

"We became close friends with a Greek couple – Manolis and Maria – from a small village of Vederi near Rethymno. They produced the unique furniture from hundred-year-old doors, shutters and planks.

Once I told Manolis that I’m painting Cretan doors and I would like to apply something from local poetry to my drawings. When Manolis read me several distiches, called mantinades, everything has become clear!

All of these drawings were created using ink and watercolor. I wrote the name of the town or village and Manolis’ mantinada in each work. Instead of using traditional tools like dip pens or ink markers, I preferred to draw by using handmade dry twigs cut by myself."

Dalius Art website

DaliusArt shop on Etsy

© All art images on this page are copyright of Dalius Art - please  visit the artist's site to purchase artwork directly - please click on the images ©

Venetian Architecture

The island of Crete has a multi-faceted architecture as a patchwork resulting from its history. The Venetians ruled on Crete from 1204 to 1669 and contributed a great deal to the existing towns and building structures. They built many fortresses and kastellos as defensive points around the island. Ruined Venetian castles and towers can be found in many parts of the island.

The Kingdom of Candia or Regno or Ducato di Candia ruled heavily in a rough feudal system under which the independent people of Crete did not sit quietly but fought with insurrection for those hundreds of years.

The Venetians also built many of the harbours and townships in Crete, some of which have remained throughout the following centuries of rule by Ottomans and throught the modern times of world wars.

Both Chania Old Town and Rethymnon Old Zone are remnants of Venetian architecture in Crete and it is these doors that remind us of those middle ages in Crete.

Ruined Venetian fortezza Rethymnon townRuined Venetian fortezza Rethymnon town

Venetian Walls of Chania townVenetian Walls of Chania town

Exploring the Doors of Crete

Blue Door Crete (image by Romtomtom)Blue Door Crete

This doorway in the village of Panormos in Crete has a fresh coat of paint yet the ironwork is decaying. Another example of the history of Crete which is dotted about the island and beloved or discarded in equal measure.

Sitia Kazarma CreteThe entrance to the Venetian Fortress atop the town of Sitia - known as the Kazarma - from Casa di Arma - was built by the Venetians

Pale blue door of Crete - ChaniaPale blue entrance faded by the sun - Chania

Green door of Crete - ChaniaChania Old Town has many different entrances in various states of disrepair...

Entrance to Veneto Suites in Rethymnon, CreteEntrance to Veneto Suites in Rethymnon, Crete


Doorway of Veneto Hotel and Restaurant - the building was a Venetian mansion now beautifully restored
Authors of We Love Crete in the Old Town of Rethymnon

Veneto Boutique Hotel - in the old town of Rethymnon with its winding narrow streets and stone archways, you can explore the Doors of Crete at your leisure by staying inside the walls of the Old Town.

The ochres and browns leave soft colours on the eye and warmth in the heart. So it is with the Veneto. A characteristic historic Venetian building, with just 12 rooms and family-run, the four star Veneto with its atmospheric restaurant is a true Cretan experience right in the heart of old Rethymon town.

The Venetian mansion dating from the 15th Century has been beautifully restored and shows character throughout the unique suites.

Enjoy culinary events, an award winning wine list and authentic Cretan cuisine here, just metres from the Rimondi Fountain, Neratze Mosque, Venetian Loggia and the Archaeological Musuem

4 Epimenidou Street, Rethymnon

Getting to Crete

To get to the beautiful town of Rethymnon to see the Venetian doors, you can fly into Crete via either Chania Airport CHQ or Heraklion Airport HER.

There are many different factors that will go into your choice of airport so we have put together this helpful guide

How to choose an airport in Crete

The distance from Chania Airport to the Old Town of Rethymnon is 67 km, whereas the distance from Heraklion Airport is 89 km.

There are many flights from Athens per day with both Aegean and Olympic airlines and the flight time is 1 hour.

Ferries leave Athens port of Pireaus daily for both Chania and Rethymnon, and the journey duration is approx. 5.5-9 hours depending on the type of ferry you might choose.

More details on flights and ferries below.

Car hire in Crete is a really good idea as it is a large island 60 km by 260 km. There is so much to explore.

When you book with our car rental partners - Rental Centre Crete - you are supporting a local company with excellent service and easy online booking. We are sure you will be well looked after by the team. Choose from hybrid, electric or regular vehicles.

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We trust you have enjoyed these tips from the We Love Crete team. Evíva!

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