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ΜΟΝΗ ΤΟΠΛΟΥ

Τοποθεσία: Λασίθι, Ανατολική Κρήτη, 85 χμ Α από Άγιο Νικόλαο, 6 χμ Β από Παλαίκαστρο
ΜΟΝΗ ΤΟΠΛΟΥ - εικόνα1
ΜΟΝΗ ΤΟΠΛΟΥ - εικόνα2
ΜΟΝΗ ΤΟΠΛΟΥ - εικόνα3
ΜΟΝΗ ΤΟΠΛΟΥ - εικόνα4
From Sitia follow the coastal road into the direction of Palekastro, Vai and Kato Zakros. About 12 km away from Sitia turn left into the road that leads to the monastery Toplou and Vai. Its a quite curvy road but asphalted.
After approximately 3 km you will reach the remote monastery lying in the rocky landscape.
The fortress dates from the 15th Century and its eventful history is marked by destruction (by the Turks) and reconstruction. The monastery owes its name to the Turks; in the 17th Century the fortified construction possessed a cannon (in Turkish "Top"). During World War II, during the occupation of Crete by the Germans, the British operated a secret radio system here.
The interior of the monastery with its interior courtyard and the two-aisled church is worth a visit. The two-aisled church also requires two iconostasis with numerous individual icons. The most famous of them hangs between the aisles opposite the entrance. It was developed by Joannis Kornaros (1745 - 1796). It consists of many small scenes from the Bible and is one of the most valuable icons of Greece. Outside the church, to the left of the entrance hangs a stone slab into which a contract between the cities Itanos and Ierapetra is carved; it dates from the 1st Century BC.
While today only two monks and the abbot live in the monastery, in the past Toplou at times was inhabited by more than 20 monks. The icon school of the monastery has bred important artists and the Icon Museum (entrance fee € 3,-), which attracts art lovers today, is one of the most famous in Greece. A large icon ("Great are you, Lord") is one of the most significant works of religious art of the Greek Orthodox Church. Every year at Easter residents of the surrounding villages pilgrimage to the monastery chapel to pay their respects to the icon, which during Easter time is being exhibited in the chapel.
The monastery is now by far the largest landowner in the region. As one example, the "palm beach of Vai," also is property of the monastery (and the monks). The very active abbot, who knows to combine church work with economic vigor very well, also strives to ensure the success of the Agricultural Cooperative of Sitia, the olive oil of whom, along with the monastery's own olive oil received the highest quality awards.
ΕΠΙΣΚΕΨΗ ΤΗΣ ΜΟΝΗΣ ΑΥΤΗΣ ΣΥΜΠΕΡΙΛΑΜΒΑΝΕΤΑΙ ΣΤΗΝ ΕΚΔΡΟΜΗ "ΑΝΑΤΟΛΙΚΗ ΚΡΗΤΗ - Τοπλού, Φοινικόδασος Βάι, Σητεία"

ΜΟΝΗ ΠΑΝΑΓΙΑΣ ΚΕΡΑΣ ΚΑΡΔΙΩΤΙΣΣΑΣ

Τοποθεσία: 50 χμ ΝΑ από Ηράκλειο, στην είσοδο του Οροπεδίου Λασιθίου
ΜΟΝΗ ΠΑΝΑΓΙΑΣ ΚΕΡΑΣ ΚΑΡΔΙΩΤΙΣΣΑΣ - εικόνα1
ΜΟΝΗ ΠΑΝΑΓΙΑΣ ΚΕΡΑΣ ΚΑΡΔΙΩΤΙΣΣΑΣ - εικόνα2
ΜΟΝΗ ΠΑΝΑΓΙΑΣ ΚΕΡΑΣ ΚΑΡΔΙΩΤΙΣΣΑΣ - εικόνα3
The monastery of Panagia Kera is located 50 kilometers southeast of Heraklion in the Dikti Mountains. It is reached by driving from Hersonissos up to the Lasithi Plateau.
The monastery's consecration celebration is on the 8th of September. The history of the monastery, the legends and the traditions regarding the miraculous icon of the Theotokos attract every year many believers and make the monastery one of the most important religious centers of Crete. The age of the monastery dates back to the 12th Century, but it is not known exactly when and by whom it was founded. The first written record dates from 1415.
The monastery was once a fortified monastery. The fortification wall that surrounded it, protected the church, the monastic cells and the shared buildings. But today not much is left to see of it, as many destructions and pillagings during the Turkish period and renovation work that had been carried out from time to time changed the shape of the complex. It was the location of the monastery, which required it to be fortified, because it is located above one of the natural approaches to the plateau of Lassithi. Almost nothing has remained of the old fortifications except the outline of the monastery buildings. The entrance to the monastery, on the east side, has been at this point also in older times.
The present buildings and monastic cells were built between 1960 and 1970.
After the conquest of Crete by the Turks (1669) the monastery was a place of refuge for the insurgents and housed and catered the people from the surrounding villages. 1822, a year after the start of the Greek liberation struggle, the monastery was burnt down by the Turks. The same thing happened about 20 years later, after the Cretan revolt of 1841. In the 20th Century there was a danger that the monastery had to be abandoned because there were not enough young monks. Its conversion to a nunnery by the Archbishop of Crete has secured its survival.
ΕΠΙΣΚΕΨΗ ΤΗΣ ΜΟΝΗΣ ΑΥΤΗΣ ΣΥΜΠΕΡΙΛΑΜΒΑΝΕΤΑΙ ΣΤΗΝ ΕΚΔΡΟΜΗ "ΚΝΩΣΟΣ - ΛΑΣΙΘΙ"

ΜΟΝΗ ΦΑΝΕΡΩΜΕΝΗΣ

Τοποθεσία: Λασίθι, Ανατολική Κρήτη
ΜΟΝΗ ΦΑΝΕΡΩΜΕΝΗΣ - εικόνα1
ΜΟΝΗ ΦΑΝΕΡΩΜΕΝΗΣ - εικόνα2
ΜΟΝΗ ΦΑΝΕΡΩΜΕΝΗΣ - εικόνα3
ΜΟΝΗ ΦΑΝΕΡΩΜΕΝΗΣ - εικόνα4
The monastery of Virgin Mary "Faneromeni" (the Revealed one) is located in the area of Gournia. You can reach the monastery by following the main road from Gournia for another 3 kilometers to the west (Istro). Here you turn right onto the "old route" (to the direction of the campsite). After about 800 meters there is a sign to the left leading to the monastery. The route to the monastery leads through serpentines up to the mountains, to an altitude of approx. 600 m. The entire route to the monastery is about 7 km long, partly asphalt road (1 km), the rest is dirt road but accessible with a normal car.
According to tradition, in 1170 in a cave, around which today resides the monastery, an icon of the Virgin Mary was found. Since that time, first a cave church was built, which gradually had been developed into a monastery. In 1282 the leaders of Cretan rebels gathered in the monastery to decide the future of their fight against the Venetians. During the Turkish occupation the monastery operated a secret school, which still exists today. In 1953, the cave church was restored.
The monastery was built on a rock slope over several terraces. It has its own spring water supply and a guest house. It currently functions as a male monastery, managed by a monk (and supported by volunteer helpers) and it is one of the most significant pilgrim destinations in eastern Crete. On the 15th of August, the Feast of the Panagia (Assumption), a large festival is held here.
The monastery offers a beautiful view of the Gulf of Mirabello. You can see over the deep valley northwest across the town of Agios Nikolaos.

ΜΟΝΗ ΑΡΚΑΔΙΟΥ

Τοποθεσία: 23 χμ ΝΑ από Ρέθυμνο, Κρήτη
ΜΟΝΗ ΑΡΚΑΔΙΟΥ - εικόνα1
ΜΟΝΗ ΑΡΚΑΔΙΟΥ - εικόνα2
ΜΟΝΗ ΑΡΚΑΔΙΟΥ - εικόνα3
ΜΟΝΗ ΑΡΚΑΔΙΟΥ - εικόνα4
Arkadi Monastery (23 km south-east of Rethymnon) can be reached by following the north coast road Heraklion - Rethymnon and taking a right at Stavromenos (south direction), driving along the byways, following the signs to Arkadi. The monastery is situated on a plateau (about 500 m asl.). The square building with its walls of rough-hewn stones is similar of a barrier to a fortress. According to published literature, the monastery is over 400 years old in its present form. Opposite the entrance to the monastery, at the western end of the large (parking) space, a former windmill serves as a charnel house, in which the skulls of the victims of 9 November 1866 are kept in.
According to historical tradition, it was built in the 5th century by the Byzantine emperor Arcadius (after which it was named). At the end of the 16th Century (1587) the monastery was renovated. The two-aisled church also dates from this period and is ordained to the metamorphosis of Christ.
The monastery complex covers 5,200 square meters. The church is located in the center of the complex, surrounded by two-story buildings: the monks' cells, refectory, storage, etc.
If the Cretan himself is known for his indomitable desire for freedom, Arkady is his symbol. Outwardly rather unimposing, today the monastery is almost a "pilgrimage" with the character of a "National Shrine". In this monastery on the 9th of November 1866 took place one of the worst tragedies of the Cretan war of independence against the Turks. Hundreds of trapped people, including many women and children, together committed suicide behind the fortified walls of the convent in order not to fall into the hands of the attacking Turkish troops.

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