The monastery of Agios Nikolaos (Saint Nicholas) is located at the exit of the beautiful canyon Gafaris (or Rouvas), about 48km southwest of Heraklion and 3km north of Zaros village. It is situated at the point where in 1994 a great fire burnt much of the beautiful pine forest of the gorge.
The monastery is accessible by car from Zaros, on the path leading to the gorge (20 'north of Lake Zaros). Unfortunately, the architecture of the monastery is a modern and very bad anomaly inside this landscape. The only thing to interest the visitor is the old church of St. Nicholas, with the frescoes of the 14th century of the Paleologean style and the restored temple of Agia Paraskevi.
The monastery was originally operated as a second monastery of Varsamonero Monastery. It was later abandoned, but it now operates as a monastery for Old Calendarists, who built a huge modern temple and some cells, utility rooms, etc..The current temple is dedicated to the Resurrection of the Christ and Agia Kiriaki, while the bell tower houses 8 bells with the heaviest weighing 12 tons.
Nearby, you can also visit the old cavernous church of St. Efthimios, with many frescoes and an inscription of 1438.
- 16th century: The monastery of Agios Nikolaos in place Karopouliana serves as a livestock monastery of Varsamonero monastery.
- 1880-1900: Nuns get installed in Agios Nikolaos and renovate the buildings.
- 1919: The monastery gets deserted.
- 1992: Old Calendarists from Zaros settle in the monastery and start its renovation.