Agarathos is one of the oldest monasteries in Crete but its exact date of establishment is not known. Most probably, it was established during the second Byzantine period and originally belonged to the Kallergis family. According to tradition, it received its name from a Jerusalem sage bush (agarathia in the Cretan dialect), under which an old icon of Virgin Mary was found.
The earliest written reference to the monastery dates back to 1532 and the Venetian period. During that time, Agarathos was a very wealthy monastery, with many of its monks originating from Kythira. During the Ottoman occupation of Crete, the monastery often served as a local revolutionary center and suffered several retaliatory attacks as a result. Several important figures, among which Cyril Lucaris, Meletius Pegas, Joseph Bryennios, Gerasimos Palaiokapas and Theodore of Alexandria, have been enrolled as monks at Agarathos.
Agarathos monastery is built with a fortified architecture. The main building (katholikon) is a two-nave church that was erected on the location of an older one and was inaugurated in 1894. One nave is dedicated to Kimisis and the other to St. Minas. In 1935, the church was declared as a preservable monument. An old church dedicated to St. Raphael is located outside the courtyard.References:
Heidelberg Castle is a famous ruin and one of the the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. The rich and eventful history of Heidelberg Palace began when the counts palatine of the Rhine, – later prince electors – established their residence at Heidelberg. The earliest castle structure was built before 1214 and later expanded into two castles circa 1294; however, in 1537, a lightning-bolt destroyed the upper castle. Until the Thirty Years’ War, Heidelberg Palace boasted one of the most notable ensembles of buildings in the Holy Roman Empire. The present structures had been expanded by 1650, before damage by later wars and fires. In 1764, another lightning-bolt caused a fire which destroyed some rebuilt sections.
The 19th century brought a new wave of admiration: a sight both terrible and beautiful, the ruins epitomised the spirit of the Romantic movement. Heidelberg Palace was elevated to a national monument. The imposing edifice and its famous garden, the Hortus Palatinus, became shrouded in myth. The garden, the last work commissioned by the prince electors, was never completed. Some remaining landscaped terraces and other vestiges hint at the awe-inspiring scale of this ambitious project. In the 17th century, it was celebrated as the “eighth wonder of the world”. While time has taken its toll, Heidelberg Palace’s fame lives on to this day.
Heidelberg Castle is located 80 metres up the northern part of the Königstuhl hillside, and thereby dominates the view of the old downtown. Set against the deep green forests on the north flank of Königstuhl hill, the red sandstone ruins tower majestically over the Neckar valley.