The Monastery of



Areti Monastery in Karydi
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The Monastery of the Holy Trinity (Agia Triada) in Areti is located next to the village Karydi (close to Neapolis) in a dry and isolated area of Mirabello province. Along with the neighboring Kardamoutsa monastery, they were the most important monasteries of the area (This area has the most monasteries than any other place in Crete). Indeed, it once managed to buy seven other monasteries in the region. Ruined for many years, it was lately restored and is currently inhabited by monks.

From afar, the monastery resembles a fortress, as a part of it is fortified, being one of the five most important fortified monasteries in Crete. There is a gallery at its entrance, which leads to large vaulted storage rooms, the barn, and the main gate of the courtyard. In the main courtyard, there are tanks and several buildings. There are cells, a kitchen, a bakery, a metalwork room, and other rooms. Outside the closed enclosure, there are two large open tanks, an olive oil mill, and a creamery, while you will see 12 ancient cypress trees that symbolize the 12 Apostles.

The monastery's main church is located in the center of the enclosure and is a single-spaced barrel-vaulted church with a pointed archly doorway. The bell bears the inscription 1618. There is a second Venetian temple, dedicated to Saint Lazarus that probably had a funerary character. Finally, the small chapel of St. Makarios of Egypt was founded lately, in a small room.

There is a legend about the founding of Areti Monastery: During the Venetian Occupation of Crete, a local worked at one of the several Venetian ports of Crete and developed close relations with some Venetians. One of them invited him to Venice for the wedding of his daughter. There, he heard some guests discussing his homeland, Crete. The Venetians being unaware that the Greek guy could speak Italian, planned to go to the current position of Areti Monastery and dig up a treasure that was hidden there. They also said that whoever would first pull the cauldron lid, in which the treasure was hidden, would die. The Cretan who heard it all, visited the area and searched for the cauldron. Indeed, he found the pot and tied the lid of the cauldron to a donkey, thus when the animal walked, the pot was uncovered and the poor animal died! So, the guy became very wealthy and, being grateful to god for his good luck, he built the monastery of Areti in this rocky and barren place.


  • 1580-1596: The feudal lord Markos Papadopoulos founds the monastery.
  • 1723: According to a document, the monastery is fueling militants or pirates fighting Turks
  • 1821: The Turks burn and plunder the monastery, destroying all precious items and the valuable library of the monastery.
  • 1844: The monastery gets restored and reoperates
  • 1881-1882: The monastery gets extensively renovated
  • 1900: The abbey is announced as preservable
  • 1940: The Germans destroy the monastery and this is deserted for many years.
  • 1991: The local Church starts the reconstruction of the monastery, which takes its present form.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Lassithi Prefecture
  • Type: Monastery
  • Peak Period: Venetian Era (1204 AD - 1669 AD)
  • Accessibility: Paved road
  • Phone: +30 28410 32120


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