According to various historical sources, Vosakou monastery was in continuous use from the early 17th century until 1960, when the last of its monks died. In April 1676, Vossakos became a Patriarchical monastery (i.e. stauropegic), proclaimed by an act of Ecumenical Patriarch Parthenius IV. The monastery played an important role in the greater area of Mylopotamos and owned many pieces of land as well as establishments in the nearby villages of Sisses, Garazo and Dafnedes. It also contributed to the Greek Revolution of Independence in 1821 and the Cretan Revolution of 1866. This involvement resulted in the monastery being partially destroyed by the Turks. Later in the 19th century, the monastery was rebuilt through significant construction activities. The current main church (katholikon) was built in 1855, replacing an earlier one dating from the 14th and 15th centuries.
The monastic complex is arranged in three wings around the main church which is situated on the east side of the central yard. It is a single-aisled, vaulted church that is characterized by simple artistic features. A fountain built in 1673 is located near the main church. The monastery's water supply system is complemented by two water-cisterns, collecting the water draining from the roofs with a system of pipes. The east wing of the monastery is determined by its monumental gate of 1669 and two small rooms. The south and west wings comprise the dining hall, kitchen, honey and wax workshops and the raki distillery. An open-air wine-press is located in the central wing.
After being abandoned for over 40 years, the monastery was reinstated in 1998. An extensive restoration project was undertaken by the 28th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities, funded by the municipality of Kouloukonas, the Region of Crete and the monastery itself. Today, about two thirds of the originally derelict buildings have been restored and works are still under way.References:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.