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Holy Monastery of Agia Triada of Jagarolon The Monastery of Agia Triada of Tzagarolon is one of the richest and most beautiful monasteries in Crete. It is built near the airport of Chania, in the position Tzobomylos of the Cape Melecha and at the foothills of Stavros Mount. The distance from Chania is only 15km. The monastery was built by the Venetian nobles Jeremiah and Lawrence Tzagarolo. Jeremiah was a famous scholar of his era with rich education and was a friend of the Patriarch of Alexandria, Meletios Pigas. Jeremiah himself was a candidate for Patriarch of Constantinople. Moreover, Jeremiah designed and built the monastery complex of the monastery, being affected by the architect Sebastiano Serlio from Verona, Italy. The monastery today hosts a small museum with various pictures and icons. The most important are the 12th century cloth for covering the altar, the icons of St. John the Theologian…
Holy Monastery of Arkadi The Arkadi Monastery situated on the island of Crete doesn’t solely belong to this island; it belongs to Greece, Europe and to all five continents – to the whole world. It is one of the Eastern Orthodox Monasteries underlining the catholicity and universality of the Church. Each year the Monastery receives and hosts many visitors and pilgrims from all over the world, from distant civilizations. Here are blended many languages, cultures, traditions, history and polymorphism. Nothing from the above can impede the faith unity, the catholicity of the orthodox spirit, the universality of the ecclesiastical testimony. The Arkadi Monastery has a unique natural beauty, a prestigious history, numerous legends deeply rooted in the time, heirlooms and thesaurus richness. Possibly because the old is livelier than the new, and the modern is often more mature than the aged. Each pilgrim and visitor feels something which is exclusively…
Holy Monastery of Kera – Kardiotissa The foundation and the history of the monastery, the first mention of which dates to 1333 is inextricably linked to the wonderworking icon of the All-Holy Virgin the Kardiotissa [the type of icon where the Virgin holds Christ in her arms above her heart], which according to tradition was painted by St. Lazaros, a monk and icon painter who lived during the period of Iconoclasm. The icon was stolen during the period of Venetian occupation and transferred to the church of St. Alphonse in Rome, while the newer icon that replaced it since 1735 is considered equally mira¬culous. Of the original monastery, only the catholicon survives today which has been structured architecturally after successive interventions to the original single-nave church. The barrel-vaulted space to the north and the three parallel to each other spaces on the west side were added subsequently. The whole was…
Cathedral of Saint Minas The imposing church of Saint Minas was built in 1862 and symbolizes the gratitude of the people of Heraklion to the Saint for the protection offered to them during the period of the Turkish rule. St. Minas is the patron Saint of Heraklion. The day of his celebration (November 11) is a holiday for the city. Many legends surround his name, narrating stories how he protected the city in many occasions, like when the Turks attacked and even during the German bombardments in 1941. The bomb exhibited right next to the Cathedral of St. Minas, by the staircase that leads to the plateau of St. Catherine, stands witness of the Saint’s protection as it fell at this point in 1941 but never exploded. The famous Cretan writer Kazantzakis often refers to him in his book “Captain Michalis” (UK title “Freedom and Death”): “On midnight, when the…
Ierapetra city The town of Ierapetra is present throughout the history of Crete. According to the myths, Cyrbas was one of the first settlers. The town was initially called Cyrbas, from the name of its founder. Later it was called Kamiros, Pytna, Ierapytna and eventually Ierapetra. Growing from the early years of the ancient Cretan civilization, this gifted and strategic corner of Europe has always a strong point of interest and activity.  Ancient Ierapetra will reach her peak during the 2nd and 1st century BC. The town rules a very large area of southeast Crete which includes the once powerful cities of Pressos, Priansos, Malla and Oleros which once blocked her expansion. Ierapetra resisted the Roman invaders harder than any other Cretan city, however it was destroyed by the conquerors in 66 BC. It was rebuilt to a magnificent city according to the Roman model with a theatre and other…
The Village of Maroulas Maroulas is a quiet village situated on the heights above Rethymno, facing the sea at an altitude of 150 meters and surrounded by greenery, a spring and several valleys. In 1980, Maroulas was listed for its historical monuments but also for some of its houses. Amongst its rich historical heritage, visitors can discover important remains of ancient tombstones dating back to antiquity, two wonderful Venetian towers one of which is 44 meters high, a Byzantine church dedicated to the Ascension, a more recent church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and lastly a small chapel with iconostasis which adorns the small village square. During the first Venetian invasions, the middle-class houses of Maroulas were used as second homes or agricultural warehouses by the nobility of Rethymno. Its high position facing the sea and its narrow lanes without any main square make Maroulas a typical example of the…
The Village of Margarites The village of Margarites is a traditional settlement which is located 27km southeast of Rethymnon, near ancient Eleftherna. Margarites is an old village known for its pottery production (is one of Crete’s four main pottery centres). The pots are handmade using techniques dating back thousands of years. Many craftsmen still use age-old traditional techniques and skills, whether for small pieces of pottery or the large storage jars used on the island in the Minoan period, as evidences by the large jars found in all Minoan palaces. Various village shops sell the local pottery. The village has several remains from older eras and several Byzantine churches. Walking around the village one can see ornate doors and walls dating from the Venetian era. These features, as well as the narrow alleys, retain certain aspects of traditional Cretan village architecture.
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