Gonia Monastery

Plataniás, Greece

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.

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Details

Founded: 1618-1634
Category: Religious sites in Greece

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Lenka Blaho (2 years ago)
Beautiful monastery with calm and tranquill atmosphere. Iyou can spend nice relaxing hour here. I also did like the well maintained museun very much. I find the entrance fee of 3 EUR adequate. You can easily walk here from the port.
Timo (2 years ago)
Absolutely beautiful monastery, newly renovated and restored with great attention to detail. The public area is not too large, but definitely worth the 3€ entrance fee. The church is lovely, the view from the terrace is breathtaking, and the museum in the cellar vault quite interesting. There is also a small gift shop with souvenirs and refrigerated drinks. I would not drive more than 30 minutes just to visit the monastery, but if you're in the area or if it's on the way, I would definitely recommend a side trip.
Anne Warren (2 years ago)
Very gorgeous place to visit. It has a historical museum and the place itself is very historical. It's located on the hill by the sea next to the harbour. You will get there with a little fun train. Absolutely worth of visiting.
Nitin Chavda (2 years ago)
Easy to find and park, a serene and peaceful place, worth visiting if your in the area Very well maintained and beautifully pleasing to the eye. It’s set on a cliff and as a result the views are spectacularly breathtaking Allocate an hour to take it all in and induce a peace to yourself.
Gwen Johnson (2 years ago)
Lovely restful peaceful place. Superb views over the bay and shoreline. Chapel is quite beautiful. Worthy of a visit if you need to feed your soul.
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