The village Armeni consists the natural extension of the city of Rethymno (9 km distance) to the south and lies on the southern road. It slowly turns into a tourist destination for locals and foreigners. It is already a commercial center of the region.
Elements that make the area into a popular tourist destination are the widely known Late Minoan Cemetery of Armeni, the homonym traditional village and the beautiful natural environment. The village is located within a small distance from the beaches of Rethymnon both the northern and the southern ones. It is also famous for its cool climate during the summer. The involvement of residents in the agriculture and livestock make it suitable for the development of rural tourism by creating farms that can be visited by anyone.
The history of the village
Armeni is a traditional settlement of the Municipality of Rethymno situated in the homonymous prefecture, which owes its name to the Armenian soldiers who were brought here in the year 961 A.D. by General Nikiforos Fokas when he liberated Crete from the Saracens. But today there are no residents of Armenian origin, who have moved to Sfakia, Rodakino etc. In the area of the village there was a city dated back in the Minoan period, as evidenced by the Late Minoan Cemetery (1350-1200 BC) found during excavations in position Prinokefalo, 1 km far from the village Somata where visitors can see 300 chamber tombs. The village is situated in the center of Armenokampos at an altitude of 380 meters and has a population of 379 inhabitants.
During the Venetian rule (1212-1669), Armeni were actually two villages, called Lower Armeni and Upper Armeni respectively. During this period people came from various parts of Crete, mainly from Sfakia, and settled here. Visitors are able to see preserved Venetian gates, arches etc. During the Turkish occupation (1669-1898) Upper Armeni was inhabited only by Turks who later fled and the settlement was deserted and never occupied again.
German occupationIn Armenokampos the Germans had set up a military camp of 800 men in an area of 2km. The camp had warehouses, barracks, a small airport etc. They cut trees and made a perimeter with a wire. Shortly before leaving the Germans installed an explosive device linked with all the ammunition and warned residents to abandon their homes. The result was that the plain was being burned for an entire week.
The two camps: When the Germans left in 1951 the Greek army repaired the camps and used them as recruiting units until the 1980s. The first camp "Captain Mark Portaliou’s camp" is at the entrance of Armeni. In the past there were ammunition warehouses but today there are military houses. The other camp, at St. George’s area, called "Captain Pantelaki’s camp" was a recruitment unit.