Religious monuments of Crete


The province of Kydonia, i.e. the wider area of current Chania city, hosted a large number of monasteries and hermitages. Especially the isolated and inhospitable Cape Akrotiri or Melecha was home to dozen monks and hermits who lived a strict monastic life in caves and small convents, following the footsteps of Saint John the Hermit. Unlike Akrotiri, the fertile plane around Chania hosted many monasterial dependencies owing very large areas of olive groves and vineyards.

Saint George Mormoris Monastery

The ruined monastery of St. George Mormoris is located near the village Nerokourou, by Chania and dates from 1637 (and earlier). The monastery, which once possessed a great fortune, is a dependency of Gouverneto monastery and has been declared a protected monument.


Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Halepa

The temple of Saint Maria Magdalene is located in Chalepa, the noble district of Chania that flourished in the 19th century, when Eleftherios Venizelos who lived here emerged as the most important leader of modern Greece.


Zoodochos Pigi Church, Alikianos

The imposing Byzantine church of the Life-Giving Fountain (Zoodohos Pihi) is located between the villages of Koufos and Alikianos, at a site with many orange and lemon trees. The temple is also known as Ai Kyrgiannis (St Mister John) after the name of St. John the Hermit or Xenos who founded it around 1030.


Saint George Church at Argoulides

The church of Saint George (Agios Georgios) in Argoulides is built in the 14th century, like the nearby temple of Saints Artemios and Paraskevi. The church bears frescoes from the 14th century and, together with the temples of Michael Archangel and the Annunciation in Vothonas plateau, they are the only churches of Akrotiri area that preserve frescoes.


Church of Panagia at Therisso

The church of Panagia at Therisso is located below the huge tree of the village square and next to the statue of Eleftherios Venizelos. In the area there is the tomb of the hero Stephen Chalis, a chieftain of the period 1820-1822, who was killed in battle at position Aliakes, against the Turks, on July 25, 1822.


Church of Saint George at Garipas

At the north exit of the gorge Therisso and near the historical Boutsounaria we meet the settlement of Garipas. Garipas, beyond the natural beauty, hosts 2 ruined Byzantine churches with frescoes. One of these is the two-aisled church of St. George and St. Nicholas located on the main road.


Church of Saints Artemios and Paraskevi

Between the villages Aroni and Argoulide at Cape Akrotiri we meet the double-aisled church of Saints Artemios and Paraskevi. This Byzantine church has been built in two phases with the right aisle belonging to Agia Paraskevi probably being the oldest. Between the two doors of the temple there is an old well for the collection of rainwater and there is a carved stone trough in bedrock. The construction of the temple dates back from the 14th century, a few years after the nearby Byzantine church of Saint George (only 25 meters away).


Saint Gerasimos church at Aroni

Akrotiri Cape by Chania hosts the largest (in density) number of temples than every other part of Chania. Many of these temples are very well known to visitors due to their history and architecture. There are of course several that are less known or completely unknown, however they might carry a special story sometimes. One of the more obscure temples of Akrotiri is that of Saint Gerasimos at Aroni. Saint Gerasimos is a new church but is built on the site of an older church of St. Gerasimos. 


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