Apart from the ascetic Centre of Asterousia Massif, the plane of Messara and the south outskirts of the Ida Range hosted numerous small monasteries, which are today deserted. Here we do not meet many cavernous hermitages, in contrast to Asterousia, but mainly organized small communities.
The ruins of the Great Basilica (6th century AD) of Gortys are located 200m south of the main archaeological site, before arriving at Mitropolis village. The five-aisled temple, discovered accidentally in 1978, was the largest church in Crete. The temple was dedicated to St. Titus, but after its destruction by an earthquake (670AD), it was moved to the temple inside the current archaeological site.
The church of Saint Andrew (Agios Andreas) is located in a lush green area with plane trees near the village Vourvoulitis. Next to the church there is the small cave Kalegerospilios from which gushes water and is collected to a cistern, while the roof of the cave preserves traces of a fresco of Lord Christ.
The church of Agia Marina (celebr. July 17) by Agii Deka is a single-nave vaulted temple daing back from the 9th century (today it has been restored). The church bears traces of frescoes.
The two-aisled church dedicated to the Holy Trinity (Agia Triada) is located a few meters SW of the homonym archaeological site. The temple dates back from the 14th century and was the main temple of a village that existed here during the Venetian Era.
On the eastern side of the gorge of Rouvas, high above the monastery of Saint Nicholas, we meet the location of Kalives, where the Saints Euthymius and Nikolaos Kourtaliotis lived in the 17th century (around 1670). For some researchers, these are the same person. Inside the cavernous church there are some frescoes and there is a rock-carving with the number 1432, but it is not probably a date, as dates in that era were written with Greek symbols.
South of the center of the village Ano Moulia there is the small temple of the Holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, in the center of a small graphic square. Externally it looks like a modern temple, but its original construction dates back to the 13th century, as evidenced by the preserved fresco of the Burning Bush.
The abandoned settlement of Apolychnos is located at an altitude of 220m, in the beautiful canyon of Apolychnos with springs and plane trees. Above the springs there is the Byzantine church of Saint Panteleimon.
The impressive two-naved church of Agios Charalambos and Panagia is preserved in the green valley with the deserted settlement of Paliama. The temple interior bears fragmentary traces of frescoes, but its main feature is the presence of ancient architectural parts on the walls.