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.

From

The convent located near Rethymno was probably founded by Byzantine ascetics who lived as nuns in caves within the region. During the period of Venetian rule, the convent owned extensive land and operated throughout the period of Ottoman rule until the revolution of 1821, when it began to shrink.

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

Attali Monatery at Bale is located on the hills of Agia Ypakoi near Bali and is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. Although the monastery dates back to the 14th century, written testimonies date back to 1628 onwards. 

  • location Bale, Milopotamos, Rethimno
  • type Monastery
  • time period Venetian Period

Panagia Akrotiriani (Our Lady of the Cape) Monastery, colloquially known as Toplou, is one of Crete’s most impressive and historic monasteries. It is a true bastion and a living museum of the island’s monastic history. 

  • location Kavo Sidero, Siteia, Lasithi
  • type Monastery
  • time period Venetian Period

The monastery, located south of Kroussonas, on the foothills of Psiloritis, was one of the richest monasteries during the first years of the era of Ottoman rule

  • location Krousonas, Malevizi, Irakleio
  • type Monastery
  • time period Ottoman Period

Diskouriou Monastery is located near the traditional hamlet of Axos and served as a glebe of Halepa Monastery. 

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

Built just inside Agioi Pantes (All Saints) Canyon on Cape Trachilas, the monastery has exquisite views of the sea. Particularly noteworthy are the caves that riddle the canyon and which were once used by the monastery’s hermits.

  • location Sitia, Siteia, Lasithi
  • type Monastery
  • time period 2nd Byzantine Period
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