The shorelines of province Viannos hosted several small monasteries in the medieval times, most of which were abandoned and destroyed by pirate raids. They then moved to more protected and mountainous positions and the churches of most of them are still in place, yet the monasteries do not operate.
Arvi monastery is built near the gorge of Arvi, in an elevated area with panoramic sea views. Today it is abandoned and only remnants of monks’cells reveal its past.
The monastery of Agia Moni (Holy Monastery) is located about 60km east of Heraklion and 38km west of Ierapetra, near Kavoussi Gorge. It can be accessed via a short road that starts from Ano Viannos and passes through a verdant landscape.
The church of Agia Marina in the green area of Moulefe belongs to the administrative boundaries of Panagia village of Pediada province. This was formerly a strategic point, as the roads to the Sanctuary of Hermes and Aphrodite in Symi, the Ancient Erganos and the Diktaean Cave crossed here in the Minoan times.
St. Demetrius was a small monastery that operated near the settlement Ano Kornias during the Venetian period. Today the church has been renovated, while all around there are ruins of a kitchen, olive press, stable etc.
Next to Faflagos beach there was the monastery of Agios Prokopios, which was once destroyed by the Arabs. Thus, the monks decided to leave the shore and build (in 855) a new monastery dedicated to Virgin Mary, at a very well hidden place, not visible from the sea. The church of the monastery of Panagia Keralimeniotissa (i.e. Virgin Mary – The Lady of the Ports), as it is called, still stands imperious at the same point near the exit of Xerofarago Gorge.
The Venetian church of Agios Dimitrios is located Kastri settlement and was the main church of the homonymous monastery. Today the cells and the other buildings of the monastery are deserted. The church is single-nave, vaulted and two entrances (south and west). The name Galaktoktistos means built with milk and is taken after the legend according to which the church was built with milk offered by the local shepherds.
The church of St. George is located at village Ano Symi. The church with the beautiful frescoes of the painter Manuel Fokas (1453) was originally single-nave and later was added a lateral narthex.
Just a few meters before reaching the village of Kato Viannos we meet the cemeterial temple that celebrates on August 6, as it is dedicated to Transfiguration of Jesus Christ. It was built during the Venetian Era and its exterior is simple, but its interior has many frescoes, quite damaged, which are brilliant.