Gonia is an Orthodox monastery located on the coast of the south-east Rodopos peninsula in Crete, overlooking the Gulf of Chania.

Today dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin, the monastery was founded in the 9th century and was originally dedicated to St. George. It was originally situated at Menies on the ruins of the ancient temple of Artemis Britomartis (Diktynna). The monastery was built in the 13th century adjacent to a cemetery, but it was rebuilt between 1618 and 1634 in its present location, with Venetian influences in its architectural design and adornment. The distinctive fountain in front of the monastery's entrance was built in 1708 and the belfry in 1849.

According to monks the present location at Kolymvari was considered a safer from attack. Despite this, the monastery was heavily damaged by Ottoman bombardment on many occasions throughout its history including in 1645, 1652, 1822, 1841, and finally in 1867 during the Cretan Revolt (1866–1869) against the Ottoman Empire, evidence of which can be seen today by the remaining cannonball lodged in the monastery wall.

During World War II the monastery was partly destroyed by German bombing and it became one of the most important areas of Cretan resistance to Nazi Germany.

Architecture and relics

Gonia Monastery is a Venetian-style fortress monastery. Its main church has a narthex, a dome, and a number of chapels surrounded by a courtyard. The courtyard area is also where the quarters of the abbot and monks of the monastery are situated along with the refectory and storehouses.

Today, the monastery museum contains numerous Byzantine artifacts from the 15th and 17th century including Cretan icons by Parthenios, Ritzos, and Neilos. It also has numerous relics and other rare religious treasures from the Byzantine period and ancient inscriptions on the walls.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Details

Founded: 1618-1634
Category: Religious sites in Greece

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Stephen Cole (2 years ago)
A gorgeous smallish monastery where the monks are happy to show you around, with shawls available for bare shoulders and legs if required. You aren't allowed to take photographs within the church, but otherwise are welcome to photograph the monastery itself. It is very peaceful here, and behind he church there's a quiet terrace overlooking the sea with quite attractive views.
Haysha EVANS (2 years ago)
I was so lucky to visit the Monastery with the most knowledgeable Tui guide. She knew everything about the history of Crete as well as the Monastery. A new Museum had just been opened, it was laid out beautifully. The manuscripts, vestments and icons were incomparable. The courtyard of the Monastery had also been newly paved with attractive mosaic areas. The views looking out to sea were stunning. Uplifting for the Monks I'm sure!
Dawid Gołata (2 years ago)
Small monastery with a beautiful view on the sea. Entrance 2 euros. Entrance for ladies only with the right dress.
Agnieszka Grygier-Cieciora (2 years ago)
Magical place. Remember to be propper dressed, although there are sort of scarfs to put around your arms. Entrance 2 Euros. No photos/videos in the church.
Lau Guardian (2 years ago)
Wonderful, I arrived during mass, the atmosphere was beautiful. Lovely architecture, I soaked up the spiritual calm with a bunch of friendly locals and tourists.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Cochem Castle

The original Cochem Castle, perched prominently on a hill above the Moselle River, served to collect tolls from passing ships. Modern research dates its origins to around 1100. Before its destruction by the French in 1689, the castle had a long and fascinating history. It changed hands numerous times and, like most castles, also changed its form over the centuries.

In 1151 King Konrad III ended a dispute over who should inherit Cochem Castle by laying siege to it and taking possession of it himself. That same year it became an official Imperial Castle (Reichsburg) subject to imperial authority. In 1282 it was Habsburg King Rudolf’s turn, when he conquered the Reichsburg Cochem and took it over. But just 12 years later, in 1294, the newest owner, King Adolf of Nassau pawned the castle, the town of Cochem and the surrounding region in order to finance his coronation. Adolf’s successor, Albrecht I, was unable to redeem the pledge and was forced to grant the castle to the archbishop in nearby Trier and the Electorate of Trier, which then administered the Reichsburg continuously, except for a brief interruption when Trier’s Archbishop Balduin of Luxembourg had to pawn the castle to a countess. But he got it back a year later.

The Electorate of Trier and its nobility became wealthy and powerful in large part due to the income from Cochem Castle and the rights to shipping tolls on the Moselle. Not until 1419 did the castle and its tolls come under the administration of civil bailiffs (Amtsmänner). While under the control of the bishops and electors in Trier from the 14th to the 16th century, the castle was expanded several times.

In 1688 the French invaded the Rhine and Moselle regions of the Palatinate, which included Cochem and its castle. French troops conquered the Reichsburg and then laid waste not only to the castle but also to Cochem and most of the other surrounding towns in a scorched-earth campaign. Between that time and the Congress of Vienna, the Palatinate and Cochem went back and forth between France and Prussia. In 1815 the western Palatinate and Cochem finally became part of Prussia once and for all.

Louis Jacques Ravené (1823-1879) did not live to see the completion of his renovated castle, but it was completed by his son Louis Auguste Ravené (1866-1944). Louis Auguste was only two years old when construction work at the old ruins above Cochem began in 1868, but most of the new castle took shape from 1874 to 1877, based on designs by Berlin architects. After the death of his father in 1879, Louis Auguste supervised the final stages of construction, mostly involving work on the castle’s interior. The castle was finally completed in 1890. Louis Auguste, like his father, a lover of art, filled the castle with an extensive art collection, most of which was lost during the Second World War.

In 1942, during the Nazi years, Ravené was forced to sell the family castle to the Prussian Ministry of Justice, which turned it into a law school run by the Nazi government. Following the end of the war, the castle became the property of the new state of Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate). In 1978 the city of Cochem bought the castle for 664,000 marks.