The Monastery of Saint George in Karydi (in Apokoronas Province) is located about 2km east of Vamos village. The monastery was abandoned for many years but was restored in 1996 and today it is operating normally. The monastery is the unique of Apokoronas province and is the most interesting monument of folk architecture in the prefecture of Chania.
The trademark of the monastery is the old olive oil factory (fabrica) with the 12 arches, which’s roof has collapsed. There still four mills, of which only their bases survive because the millstones have been removed. The large size of the factory and the existence of four oil mills, the unique case throughout Crete, witnesses the enormous quantities of oil produced here.
Before the foundation of the monastery, the area was a settlement and fief of a Venetian nobleman, whose house is still preserved. When the Turks came to Crete, they forced the locals to either abandon the village or to become Muslims. 4 families changed their faith to such extent, that they eventually hated Christians. They asked the Turks to turn the Church of St. George, located in the village, to a mosque. Thus, they imposed exhaustive taxes to the priest of the church so as to force him leave the church and its land property. However, the priest granted the church to the monastery of Agia Triada Tzagarolon, which could then pay its taxes.
Since then, several monks of Agia Triada came to Karydi and built the new and larger temple with its current form. The property of the monastery grew rapidly, as many Christians donated their land to the monastery. Even some Turks ceded their property to St. George.
- 1577: Francesco Barozzi mentions that there is already a church of St. George at the current position of the monastery.
- 19th Century: The small church of St. George and the land become a dependency of the Monastery of Agia Triada of Tzagarolon. The new monks of the monastery build the new church of St. George and the monastery increases its property rapidly.
- 1829: Turkish authorities grant a license to produce oil to the monastery.
- 1863: The great oil production leads to the construction of the impressive olive mill of the monastery.
- 1900: The last monk leaves the monastery of Agios Georgios.
- 1905: Part of the monastery land is ceded to the farmers of the region and the monastery is deserted.
- 1922: The rest land is granted to the veterans of the Balkan wars and the Asia Minor campaign.
- 1989: The Ministry of Culture initiates the restoration of the monastery under the guidance of Bishop Irenaeus Galanakis.
- 1996: The monk Dorotheos moves to the monastery and continues its restoration.