Gouverneto Monastery

Chaniá, Greece

Gouverneto Monastery is a Greek Orthodox monastery in the Akrotiri peninsula of the Chania regional unit. Dated to 1537 (although other sources say 1548), the monastery is a Venetian style fortress with towers at each end with some Baroque influences added later. It measures roughly 40 metres by 50 metres and contains some 50 monks’ cells on two floors.

Gouverneto is reputed to be one of the oldest monasteries in Crete, and a 1637 census, recorded shortly before the Turkish invasion, revealed that at the time there were 60 monks living in Gouverneto Monastery, also making it one of the largest in Crete at the time. The courtyard is rectangular shaped and is dominated by a dome church dedicated to the virgin and has an ornate Venetian facade. The chapel in the courtyard is reported to have some of the oldest frescoes in Crete.

To the west side of the monastery is the narthex, and contains chapels dedicated to St John the Hermit and the Ten Holy Martyrs. There are some notable monsters carved in relief on the front of the church. A cave called Arkouditissa or Arkoudia, is also located in the vicinity where the goddess Artemis was once worshiped.

During World War II, the Germans established a guardhouse in the monastery to regulate the area and since 2005 it has undergone restoration work by the monks. The monastery has strict rules, and forbids smoking and photography inside the monastery and is officially closed on Wednesdays and Fridays.

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Address

Unnamed Road, Chaniá, Greece
See all sites in Chaniá

Details

Founded: 1537
Category: Religious sites in Greece

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Carlos De la Pampa (9 months ago)
We went to visit this monastery with our family It is a quiet place full of history. It is an extraordinary place The view from behind is breathtaking We advise you to visit this site When you leave, don't forget to buy a souvenir to help the monks financially
Peter Saramo (9 months ago)
Magnificent evensong surrounded by marvellous frescoes. A holy place.
Wei-Sheng Hung (Wayne Hung) (9 months ago)
A holy place, with beautiful valley views.
Rob Schuurman (10 months ago)
Very nice and quiet location for a walk in nature to the beach. If you visit the the monastery at 5pm, the gate is opened and you can see the inner garden and the church. We were offered sweet delicacies by the friendly monks.
Frank Verduzco (10 months ago)
Beautiful monastery. Very traditional customs, need to ensure to wear appropriate clothing, no sleeveless shirts nor shorts or skirts above the knee. They have a small shop, and a hiking trail that leads to another monastery and a cove by the beach.
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Varberg Fortress was built in 1287-1300 by count Jacob Nielsen as protection against his Danish king, who had declared him an outlaw after the murder of King Eric V of Denmark. Jacob had close connections with king Eric II of Norway and as a result got substantial Norwegian assistance with the construction. The fortress, as well as half the county, became Norwegian in 1305.

King Eric's grand daughter, Ingeborg Håkansdotter, inherited the area from her father, King Haakon V of Norway. She and her husband, Eric, Duke of Södermanland, established a semi-independent state out of their Norwegian, Swedish and Danish counties until the death of Erik. They spent considerable time at the fortress. Their son, King Magnus IV of Sweden (Magnus VII of Norway), spent much time at the fortress as well.

The fortress was augmented during the late 16th and early 17th century on order by King Christian IV of Denmark. However, after the Treaty of Brömsebro in 1645 the fortress became Swedish. It was used as a military installation until 1830 and as a prison from the end of the 17th Century until 1931.

It is currently used as a museum and bed and breakfast as well as private accommodation. The moat of the fortress is said to be inhabited by a small lake monster. In August 2006, a couple of witnesses claimed to have seen the monster emerge from the dark water and devour a duck. The creature is described as brown, hairless and with a 40 cm long tail.