Church/Monastery in Crete


One of the most famous and extraordinary monasteries in Crete, Agia Triada was built by two brothers, Jeremiah and Lavrentio Jagarolon (both monks and progeny of a prominent Venetian-Cretan family) in 1634 and was finally completed after 1821.
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Next to the vestiges of Katholiko monastery is the cave of Saint John the Hermit.
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Look at the few aged icons, including one of Theotokos from the 14th century and a fine example of the style known as Hodeghitiria, usually associated with Constantinople.
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Whilst Mark was the patron saint of Venice, the Cretans paid homage to Titos (or Titus), the first bishop of the island, and the recipient of epistles from St Paul, in the first century AD.
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In the small, scenic village of Maza is the Byzantine church of Agios Nikolaos. Inside the church is decorated with a lovely collection of religious paintings by Ioannis Pagomenos that tell the story of Saint Nikolaos.
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The Akardi monastery has a special place in Cretan memory. It was here, in 1866, a full 32 years before Crete was finally free of the Ottoman yolk, that close to a thousand Greeks were trapped inside.
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Close to the village of Pangalochori, in the east of the province, Arsani monastery’s foundations can be traced back to the end of the second Byzantine period (probably the 12th century BC).
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The road from Hania to the beginning of the Samaria Gorge is one of the most spectacular routes in Crete.
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Situated between the villages of Vorizia and Zaros the monastery, has a double aisled church, dedicated to the apostle Thomas, and a beautiful fountain with water issuing-forth from lions’ heads.
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Situated next to the national road, a monastery has existed here since Byzantine times, though what we see here, was founded in 1961, on the site of another monastery, abandoned in the 19th century.
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Found close to the village of Phourni, some 18 Kms distance from Aghios Nikolaos, Areti is a large, impressive monastery, with resident monks, making bread, olive oil and wine.
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This was a very important monastery, during the Renassaince period, when the growth of art and culture was being stifled by the Ottoman Turks.
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Situated close to village of Aghios Vassilios, itself 32 Kms from Herakleion, this monastery flourished at the very time that Christianity was threatened most, i.e during the Ottoman occupation, and after 1669.
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A kilometre east of the beautiful village of Kritsa, lies the three-aisled church of Panaghia ("All Holy", a name often given to the Virgin Mary) Kera.
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There are two monasteries here, but the lower (Kato) one lies in ruins, and may not be accessible at all. The “back” (Piso) - quite often known as the upper monastery - is a beautiful building within a stunning setting.
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Originally built as early as the 10th century, though what we see now is at least 600 years younger dating back to 1555, and built during Venetian rule.
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Just outside the village of Alikambos is the small, pale yellow church of Koimesis.
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A splendidly situated site, some 16 KMs east of Siteia, and 12 Kms west of Palaikastro, Toplou is a lovely place to visit with amazing attractions.
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Situated near the village of Vigli, close to Neapoli, there is an unsigned wall paintings here dating back to the 13th century.
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Just a couple of kilometers from Elafonissos beach is the impressive monastery of Hryssoskalitisa.
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Located in the small village of Armeni, east of the city of Hania, and nestled amongst numerous olive groves as well as colourful orange and avocado trees is home of the Byzantine church of Agios Nikoloas. A lovely yet weathered yellow stone church worth a view.
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A short distance away from Agia Triada monastery is Gouverneto Monastery, another of the most historically important monasteries on Crete, built in 1537.
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On the outskirts of the village, Aghia Anna’s frescoes date back to the early 13th century - it is dated 6733, in the old Byzantine calendar, which would place it at 1225 - and are said to be the oldest examples on the island.
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A 15th century church stands here, with a number of blind arches, that is to say windows and doors which were deliberately bricked in.
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A cross shaped chapel, originally belonging to the Chortatzis’ family, who are depicted on a fresco, dating back to the early 13th century.
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Unsprisingly, given the name, this church was built by the Venetians in reverence towards their city’s patron saint, Mark. One of many churches adopted by the Ottomans for use as a mosque, addeding a minaret. It can be found on Venizelos square in the city.
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One of Greece’s largest cathedrals the cruciform building has a domed roof, and twin towers. Heavily damaged in the 1866 revolution, it was restored some 30 years later. Located on Aghia Ekaterina square in Herakleion next to the church of that name, which was built in 1555.
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Amid jagged rock and arid surroundings are the remnants of the Katholiko monastery. A half hour walk through the Avlaki Gorge brings you to the buildings, some built right into the rock. Built in the 11th century the monastery was abandoned in the 16th, perhaps due to threats of pirate raids.
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Worth a visit, though sadly deserted these days, Keramos monastery dates back to the late 17th century, a time when the Ottomans had wrested control of Crete from the Venetians. It was abandoned at the end of the 19th century.
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Close to the village of Zaros, near the Rouvas gorge, the monastery of Aghios Nikolaos, has superb frescoes painted upon its walls, and a famous icon painted by Michaelis Damaskinos, of The Last Supper.
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A domed basilica, with a coat of arms of the famous Kallerghis family above the doorway.
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A superb church, dedicated to the assumption of the virgin, with frescoed wall, and floor mosaics, built on the site of an original 6th century basillica.
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A church said to date back to the 5th century can be found at Panormos, on the north coast.
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A lovely Byzantine church, not far from the village of Arkalochori, some 34 Kms south-east of Herakleion. A cruciform shaped building built of stone, with a tiled roof, it contains some original Byzantine frescoes.
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