The Military Museum of Rethymno is situated on the southern tip of the Municipal district of the village of Chromonastery, 11klm southeast of Rethymno and on the northern rims of mountain Vrysinas, at an altitude of 360m. From a historical viewpoint, Chromonastery is one of the most remarkable historic villages of Crete as the history of the region goes back to the Middle-Minoan period (20th16th century B.C.) from which various temples and a great settlement have been found on mountain Vrysinas.
The building in which the Military Museum is housed, is of great historical and architectural interest as it was built in 1610 and functioned as the summer residence (villa) of a Venetian noble family by the name Claudiο. Claudiο himself was a wealthy tax collector, who belonged to the upper class i.e. the noble Venetians (‘’Veneti Nobili”) of the era. In the main square of the villa and in a prominent position we can see the coat of arms (official emblem) of the Claudiο family, which displays at the center the winged lion of St. Marcus, who was the protector of the “Democracy of St. Marcus” or Venice. One can also find this coat of arms in the city residence (palazzo) of the Claudiο family, at Rethymno.
As we proceed with the history of the building; after Crete was conquered by the Ottomans in 1646, the villa became the residence of a Turkish “Aga” (person of high rank/social position during the era of the Ottoman Empire) and was renamed “Konaki” (manor house in Turkish). The descendants of the Turkish Aga occupied the villa until 1898, when the Ottomans officially retreated from the island. The passage of time led to the gradual decay of the villa Claudiο until his last owner, Alkiviades Kotzampasis, decided to donate the building to the community of Chromonastery, in 1985. Later, in 1997 the villa was granted to The Hellenic Army in order for a museum to be built. At that time, chief of the Hellenic Army was General Mr. Manousos Paragioudakis, who not only was the founder of the museum but also oversaw the reconstruction operations which lasted until 2002. The Military Museum of Rethymno was inaugurated on the 21st of May, 2010 from Mr. Paragioudakis and Lieutenant General Mr. Fragos Fragoulis, General of Hellenic Army staff. It is remarkable, that until today the Military Museum has hosted a multitude of events that increase the cultural level of the area, such as concerts, theatrical plays, book presentations and lectures of general interest, as well as painting exhibitions.