Monasteries of Crete

Here there lives on an ancient monastic tradition that blossomed at the end of the Venetian period, producing such achievements as the Cretan School of Iconography. Most monasteries were centres for nurturing freedom during the long and difficult period of Ottoman rule – becoming the guardians of Orthodoxy and Byzantine culture.

Many have shrines with exquisite frescoes – an expression of the development of Byzantine painting on Crete.


This is one of the oldest convents on Crete, situated south of Venerato village and built on top of the ruins of an ancient temple, as confirmed by the capitals located in the courtyard of the convent. 

  • location Venerato, Irakleio, Irakleio
  • type Monastery
  • time period 1st Byzantine Period

Arkadi Monatery is perhaps the best known monastery on Crete due to the Holocaust of 1866. However, its location and impressive architecture make it all the more special.

  • location Arkadi, Rethimno, Rethimno
  • type Monastery
  • time period Venetian Period

This is situated at Akrotiri, a location planted with olive groves, vineyards and cypress trees. Architecturally it is one of the most important examples of the Cretan Renaissance.

  • location Akrotiri, Chania, Chania
  • type Monastery
  • time period Venetian Period

The Monastery was founded between 1580 and 1596 and it is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. The external courtyard features the wine press, the warehouses and the stable, while the monks' cells, the catholicon and the reservoirs are situated in the internal courtyard. 

  • location Karidi, Mirampelo, Lasithi
  • type Monastery
  • time period Venetian Period

The Holy Monastery of Saint George Gorgolainis, one of the most historic monasteries on Crete, was founded by Archpriest Sylvester in the 13th century, while the single-space arch-covered church dedicated to Saint George was erected in 1627. 

  • location Kato Asites, Irakleio, Irakleio
  • type Monastery
  • time period Venetian Period, Ottoman Period

The Church of Panagia ton Myriokefalon in the village of Myriokefala served as the catholicon of the Monastery of Panagia Antifonitria, dating back to the 11th century, which has not survived. 

  • location Myriokafalon, Rethimno, Rethimno
  • type Monastery
  • time period 2nd Byzantine Period
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