The province of Rethymnon still hosts a large number of monasteries and inactive convents that mostly flourished during the Venetian Era, i.e. before the Fall of Rethymnon in 1646 by the Ottomans. The area around the current city was a very important religious center.
At the suburb Tria Monastiria of Rethymnon city, just opposite the entrance of the Municipal Cemetery of the city, we meet a ruined stone building with a small church on its roof, in a really beautiful grove.
The monastery of Panagia Antifonitria is located in the village Miriokefala, 29km south of Rethymno. The monastery does not operate today and is one of the oldest monasteries in Crete. It is said to have been founded in the 11th century by St. John Xenos or Hermit. Saint John is well known for establishing several small monasteries across the island.
The church of Agia Paraskevi at Kastellos is a double-aisled church with a stone iconostasis. It was the temple of an old monastery, now deserted. The monastery was built at a beautiful place with tall trees perfect for a stroll.
The two-aisled church of Panagia Katochoriani or Levadiotissa at Roustica is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin and the Transfiguration of Chist. It was founded probably in the 12th century as a single-aisled church of the Virgin Mary and in 1627 a second aisle was attached to the existing temple.
The 11th-century church of Panagia Kera is located at a panoramic position south to the village Chromonastiri. It is a cruciform temple with a dome, with two niches at the sides. To the south there is an embedded chapel of the 15th century dedicated to St. Anne.
The church was recently restored by the Archaeological Service and is now open to the public. The temple was built in the Middle Byzantine period on the site of an earlier basilica of the 3rd AD century, parts of which were later incorporated the church. On the sides four rooms were built, so the final shape of the temple is rectangular.
The church of Agia Paraskevi is relatively modern, but it is built over an older Byzantine church. Even today the visitor will discern small parts of the frescoes of the original church, dating before the 17th century. Inside, the church has a large collection of wonderful portable icons. Outside the church there is a large courtyard under the tall trees.
There are many cavernous chapels throughout Crete, most of them dedicated to Saint Anthony. Such one totally unknown chapel is that of Saint Anthony by Roustika, Rethymno prefecture. It is built in a cave in the heart of the cypress wood covering the Roustika Gorge and is well hidden in the dense vegetation.