The monasteries that operated in Sfakia province from the First Byzantine Period till the end of the Ottoman Rule, are not entirely known, as there are no many documents surviving commemorating the monasterial map of the heroic province.
The evidence to date are limited to monasteries that flourished mainly during the Turkish occupation, which were relatively small. The most famous of these was the Monastery of Panagia Thymiani.
Among the greenhouses of Fragokastelo plain and above Orthi Ammos beach we meet the abandoned small monastery of Agios Haralambos. It is said that there settled in 1821 the monks Gregory and Magdalene, although it is believed that the monastery is much older.
The monastery of Panagia Thymiani is located near Sfakia at position Thyme Armi and is one of the most historic sites in Crete. Here on May 29, 1821, the chieftains of Crete preached revolution against the Ottoman Empire. Therefore, the monastery is also called Agia Lavra of Crete (Agia Lavra is a monastery in Peloponnese from where the great Greek Revolution of 1821 started, leading to the liberation of Greece).
One of the most important Byzantine monuments is located in the gorge of Samaria, at the site of a former a temple of town Tarra (1st century AD). The initial church was a three-nave basilica and today what we see is the Byzantine church that was built in place of the initial.
In the middle of the settlement of Loutro we meet the beautiful and spacious temple of Panagia, dedicated to Zoodochos Pigi (Life Giving Spring) celebrating five days after Easter. The courtyard has a large Cretan date palm tree and a well with water.
Between Loutro Sfakion and the famous beach of Glyka Nera, at Perlovakia, we meet the white brushed chapel of the Holy Cross (Timios Stavros) where a big feast takes place on September 14th every year.
Saint Paul is a very old Byzantine church that was built at the place Selouda. The church is on the spot where Saint Paul reportedly baptized people on his way to Rome. It is a very picturesque small church, built on the beach using stones from the beach itself. This is why it is not easy to see the church from far.
At position Ano Rouga of the deserted village Kallikratis, Sfakia province, we meet the two-aisled church of the Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael, built in the 19th century. The belfry of 1893 is very interesting and the sundial embedded on the wall.
At the mountainous forested village of Agios Ioannis, Sfakia district, we meet the small church of Panagia that celebrates the day of the Assumption, on August 15. It is located on the outskirts of the large forest of St. John and is directly opposite the church of St. John, which gives its name to the village.