Gouverneto Monastery

Gouverneto Monastery or "Our Lady of Angels" Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in Crete and is built at an altitude of 260 meters. It was built in 1537 by monks that came from the Monastery of Saint John that is on a steep mountain side north of Gouverneto. The exterior of the monastery resembles a Venetian fort. It is rectangular in shape (40x50 meters). There are towers in each of the 4 corners with turrets that where constructed for the protection of the monastery against invaders. Today only two of them are standing.

The monastery has 50 cells on two floors. The Catholicon is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is cruciform without domes and has a narthex that is vertically aligned with the center aisle. The nave of the church is decorated with carved monster heads of unusual craftsmanship that is influences by Venetian art.

The chapel next to the church is dedicated to Saint John the Hermit (or Xenos) who was the founder of the monastery. There is also a chapel dedicated to the Ten Holy Martyrs. Before the Turkish invasion the monastery was very wealthy and influential. Many of the monks lost their lives during the 1821 Greek Revolution when the monastery was pillaged and all the monastery's records were destroyed. Later, during the Second World War, the monastery was attacked once again and it was seriously damaged.

Monastery of the Holy Trinity (or Jagarolon Monastery)

The monastery of the Holy Trinity was built in 1612 by the Cretan monks Jeremia and Lavrendios that were members of the Orthodox Venetian family of Jagarolon. The monastery is built on the ruins of an old church dedicated to the Saint Apostles. In 1634 the monastery's church was built and is of Byzantine cruciform architecture with three domes. The front of the church is very impressive with Doric columns. The influence of the Italian renaissance is evident. The impressive steeple was built in 1864 over the entrance. There are also two chapels in the monastery dedicated to Saint John the Theologian and to Zoodochos Pigi.

The monastery was burned down by the Turks and was left in ruins for many years. The monks Kalliopos and Grigiorios from Akrotiri oversaw the renovations. In 1892 it began operating as a theologian school with many great teachers. The monastery also has a library with rare books and old codes and icons of the hagiographer Merkurios from Santorini.

After several adventures the monastery continues to play an important role in the religious and financial life of the area. It is also one of the most important monuments in Crete.

Church of the Archangel Michael

The church of the Archangel Michael was built on a slope during the second half of the 6th century, as can be concluded by the architectural data, the mosaic floor and the first layer of paintings. It is a centrally-planned building with a semi-circular conch flanked by vaulted pastophoria, a domed narthex and an atrium. The exterior of the church was restored some years ago and the restoration of the interior of the church was recently completed.

The restoration process revealed several layers of frescoes the first of which dates back to the 6th – 7th century. The second dates back to the 9th century and was covered during the iconoclasm by white plaster. During the second Byzantine period the temple was transformed into an episcopic church and was painted with exquisite frescoes in the 12th century that were completed in the 14th century by the painter Michael Veneris.

Chrissoskalitissa Monastery

The Chrissoskalitissa Monastery is on the road to Elafonissi, 76 kilometers southwest of Chania. There is also a small village there with few residents. It is an all white monastery built on the top of a cliff. Don't miss the Chrissoskalitissa Monastery – its founding date is not known. An old legend of the Monastery says that one of the 90 steps that are etched it the rocks and lead to the monastery is made out of Gold. This is where the name of the monastery comes from (Chrisso=Gold, Skali=Step). Of course, according to same legend, only those without sins can see it. The festival dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is held in the village on the 15th of August at the Monastery of Chrissoskalitissa.

More About Rea Hotel

Rea Resort Hotel in
Chania, Crete, Greece

Stavros, Akrotiri, Chania
Tel:  +30 28210 39001-4
Fax: +30 28210 97504
E-mail: info@rearesorthotel.gr

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