Traditional professions are still alive in Rethymno

Professions that are becoming extinct

Rethymno is an area with wonderful natural beauty, with a rich historical past and a cultural heritage so unique, which starts from the depths of the Neolithic Age and reaches the present day. The area of Rethymno has preserved its special identity through the bonds of  the past and it is full of  wonderful historical monuments, mainly from the Venetian occupation onwards: the Forteza, the Loggia, the Egyptian Lighthouse and  the Venetian port along with the Ottoman mosques.

AMPHORA Olive oil Cementery Armenoi

Over the centuries, ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, Arabs and Ottomans have left their mark not only on the historical monuments maintained to this day, but also on all aspects of daily life of the inhabitants in the region. Social values and traditions, customs and practices, artistic expression, and other aspects of human activity are parts of cultural heritage and evidence of the connection between the past and the present.

 Part of this connection is also some traditional professions, relics of the past, which still resist the invasion of technology in our lives. In Rethymno there are several of these professions in which local craftsmen manufacture traditional items of unique value and elegance.

Art of pottery

In the village of Margarites, potters shape the clay in the traditional way of the Minoans. In the city of Rethymno and hinterland villages as well, carpenters and wood carvers give life to the trunks of trees by making traditional musical instruments such as “lyre” and “lute”. They also carve ornate church objects such as church temples.

traditional music making

In the village of Myxoruma (near Spili) one of the oldest handicraft activities of Cretan folk art, basket-knitting, is growing. In the mountain villages of the province of Mylopotamos (Anogia, Zoniana, Livadia) women still weave in the traditional loom ornamented wefts, woolen rugs, colorful backpacks or else "vourgies" and the famous embroideries of Crete with motives inspired by the Minoan and Byzantine tradition of the island.

olive tree sculpture

traditional knitting

 In the heart of the old town in Rethymno there is a man whose name is related to the production of a traditional leaf for sweets. He is the 86-year-old Giorgos Hatziparschos, the last craftsman of handmade crust sheet and “cantaifi”. In a lovely Venetian mansion with an ornately decorated marble entrance, Mr. George has been working incessantly for over 60 years, using only simple traditional ingredients and tools.

Giorgos Hatziparaskos1

His wife, Mrs. Katerina, and his son Paraskevas are at his side, and he hopes that one of his grandsons will want to pursue and continue the family tradition.

In 2007, in a climate of intense emotion, the Municipality of  Rethymnο awarded Mr. George for his contribution over the years to tourism as a model professional. 

In a recent video covered  by Business Insider Today "How Phyllo Is Handmade By One Of Greece's Last Pastry Masters " Giorgos Hatziparaskos is definitely one of the last bakers in Greece making phyllo pastry.