Arkadi Monastery

Arkadi, Greece

Arkadi Monatery is perhaps the best known monastery on Crete due to the Holocaust of 1866. However, its location and impressive architecture make it all the more special.

The current catholicon (church) dates back to the 16th century and is marked by the influence of the Renaissance. This influence is visible in the architecture, which mixes both Roman and baroque elements. As early as the 16th century, the monastery was a place for science and art and had a school and a rich library. Situated on a plateau, the monastery is well fortified, being surrounded by a thick and high wall.

The monastery played an active role in the Cretan resistance of Ottoman rule during the Cretan revolt of 1866. 943 Greeks, mostly women and children, sought refuge in the monastery. After three days of battle and under orders from the hegumen (abbot) of the monastery, the Cretans blew up barrels of gunpowder, choosing to sacrifice themselves rather than surrender.

The monastery became a national sanctuary in honor of the Cretan resistance. 8 November is a day of commemorative parties in Arkadi and Rethymno. The explosion did not end the Cretan insurrection, but it attracted the attention of the rest of the world.

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Details

Founded: 16th century
Category: Religious sites in Greece

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Tyubo 1050 (5 months ago)
Very quiet place! Beautiful and soothing. Do come early, otherwise the autobus crowd may ruin what could be a valuable experience!
Anna Nest (5 months ago)
One of the most beautiful and impressive monasteries in Crete with great and tragic history. Do not miss it! I suggest to arrive before or after the tourist buses, means early morning or late afternoon. Afyer the tour, local yogurt with honey in the cafeteria can't be praised enough.
Lukasz Milanowski (6 months ago)
Just a monastery in the middle of nowhere. Old buildings are nice but picture exhibition inside is without interest. We stop there just because it was on our way. Otherwise it would be a lose of time.
Jakub Vaněček (7 months ago)
Beautiful place, watch out for sheep on arrival :) The place has a moving history, the icons and equipment of the church is wonderful. It is a pity that, as elsewhere, Greece absolutely does not invest money in repairs, even though the church in Crete is significantly richer than elsewhere in the world. The monument would deserve much more money invested in repairs and renovations. Admission can be paid by card.
Andy G (8 months ago)
Wow! I mean WOW! Everything is great about this place - location, road, views, architecture, photo opportunities. Enjoy.
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Muslim Era

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Modern history

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Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.