The religious tradition at the province of Kissamos, at the westermost part of Crete, is still deeply ingrained in the daily habits of its inhabitants. Dozens of countryside monasteries and isolated hermitages, deserted today, recount the distant past. The wild and remote peninsulas of Rodopou and Gramvousa hosted many such relegious centers.
The monastery of Parthenos is a modern nunnery dedicated to Life Giving Spring. It was founded in 1905 and was renovated in 1962. Here operated the Urban School of Girls and the first Deaf school in Crete.
The monastery of Panagia Chrisoskalitissa is located 72km south of Chania, very close to the magnificent lagoon of Elafonissi. It operates as a nunnery and reminds of a fortress, perched on a 35m high rock with boundless sea views.
The seaside Monastery of Panagia Odigitria is located at the base of the peninsula Spatha, about 26km west of Chania and 2.5km north of Kolimbari. The monastery is also known as Lady of the Angels Monastery of Gonia (Gonia = Corner) due to its location on the western edge-corner of the bay of Chania.
The monastery of Saint John is located at Cape Rodopou (or Spatha), 37km northwest of Chania and 9.5km away from the village Rodopou, at a small plateau named Giona. With the nearby former monastery of Peter and Paul, a few kilometers north, they flourished during the late Venetian Era. After the conquest of Crete by the Turks both monasteries were handed to the powerful monastery Hodeghetria Gonia.
The very old monastery of St. George was built in the 9th century but it was abandoned several centuries later, because of the constant raids of pirates. A Byzantine tower was built next to the building complex. It was built by the monks of the monastery so as to control the sea and pirates.
Near Kamara village in Kisamos Province, there is one well hidden treasure of Cretan countryside. It is the cavernous chapel of Agia Paraskevi, which is what remains of a small nunnery that was destroyed during the Turkish Era. There is a very big schinus, which is one of the oldest in Crete (there is one more in Chochlakies Gorge by Sitia).
The Monastery of Peter and Paul is located at Cape Rodopos (or Spatha), 40km northwest of Chania and 12.5 km from the village Rodopou and is reached through a rocky dirt road. With the abbey of Saint John in Giona, a few kilometers earlier, it flourished during the late Venetian rule. Just after the occupation of Crete by the Turks the monastery became a dependency of the powerful Hodeghetria Gonia monastery.
When the Mediterranean suffered from the raids of the pirates, the monks of the seaside monastery of Saint George at Menies decided to migrate to a more secure location. Thus they chose the site where we meet today the scenic cemeterial church of the Monastery of Gonia Odigitrias, dedicated to St. George (14th century).