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Information on the Island of Crete

Churches & Monasteries - Loupassis S.A.

Capital of the Roman province of Cyrenaica, Gortyn became the first Christian community in Greece in the year 65 A.D., after St. Paul appointed Titus as bishop, with a mission to convert the whole of Crete.

In the 16th century the Cretan School of painting, closely allied with Byzantine tradition, produced numerous painters of icons, both famous and unknown.

Crete is scattered with ruins of countless frescoed churches dated from 961, when the Byzantines recaptured Crete from the Saracens, to 1204, when the island fell into the hands at the Venetians.

The following churches can still be seen:

In Chania

The chapel of the Moneyless Saints (Agii Anargiri) with old Byzantine frescoes.

The Russo-Byzantine church of Agia Magdalini in the Halepa quarter.

In the District of Chania

At Akrotiri , northeast of the city (16,5 km), the Monastery of Agia Trlada (Tzangerol), with a fine gate and church, built in 1632.

Near Agia Triada, the Monastery of Our Lady of the Angels or Gouvernetou founded in 1548, has a Renaissance style church whose impressive facade is decorated with Venetian sculptures.

The Gonia Monastery ,(24 km. west of Chania), near the village of Kolimbari. Also called the Hodigitria (Madonna as Guide), it has a lovely view and buildings dating from 1662.

At Kato Episkopi , a village about 10 km. south of Kolimbari, the Rotonda at the Archangel Michael with interesting mosaic floors and important frescoes by Byzantine artists of the 12th century.

At the village of Alikianos , (13 km. southwest ot Chania),the Byzantine church of St. George with frescoes dated from 1430.

At the village of Sougia , on the south coast of the district, there are some exquisite mosaics from an early Christian 6th century basilica preserved in the village's modern church.

In the District of Rethlmno

The Monastery of Arkadl (Mani Arkadi, ), (23 km. southeast of Rethimno), built in the 16th century in a wonderful natural setting. It is linked with memorable events in the island's struggle against Turkish oppression. There is a tourist pavilion outside the monastery.

The Monastery of Preveli, (36 km. south of Rethimno). A historic monastery well worth visiting with a small museum and beautiful view of the Libyan Sea (Liviko Palagos).

In Iraklio

The cathedral of Agios Minas and the smaller church of Agios Minas beside it. The church of St. Catherine (Agia Ekaterini), containing icons by Michail Damaskinos, the most important representative of the Cretan School.

In the District of Iraklio

At Skotini, about 1km. northwest of Fodele , the little church of the Presentation of the Virgin (Issodia tis Theotokou) built on the site of an older church of the 11th or 12th century.

About 56 km, southwest of Iraklio the Monastery of Vrontissl with a fountain carved in relief (15th c,) at the entrance to the garden and a panoramic view.

Further southwest, near the village of Vorizia (52 km, from Iraklio), the abandoned monastery of Varsamoneri. sere one can see the church of Agios Phanourios whose 15th century frescoes are of great artistic and scientific value, a unique monument of the Cretan School.

At Gortyn (Qortls), the three-apsed basilica (6th century) dedicated to St. Titus, one of the most important monuments of Christianity in Crete.

Near Krassi, west of Agios Nikolaos, the Monastery of Kardiotissa, with its church consacrated to the Virgin of Kera.

In the District of Lassithi

Some 9 km, from Agios Nikolaos betore the village of Kritsa, the church of Our Lady of Kera, filled with frescoes from the 14th or 15th century and judged to be the finest in Crete.

East of Sitia (18 km.), the Monastery of Toplou or the Panayia (Virgin) Akrotiriani , dating from the 15th century. The monastery contains an inscription from the 2nd century B.C. and a famous 18th century icon by loannis Kornaros.

South of Sitia (41 km.), the Monastery of Kapsa .

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