Hodegetria Monastery is one of the oldest and grandest monasteries on Crete, with its history closely linked to that of small monasteries and hermitages in the Asteroussia region.
It is a citadel-type monastery, with a large fortified tower in its courtyard that protected the monks from pirates arriving by sea in the south. According to tradition, this tower was initially built by Nikiforos Fokas in 961 AD. However, the present-day tower is more recent, built at the site of the first one during the era of Venetian rule, but retaining many of its Byzantine characteristics.
The two-aisled church at the centre of the courtyard is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the Holy Apostles.
Several additions have been made to the initial structure and its interior includes murals, portable icons by renowned painters, an artful chancel screen and important holy vestments.
During the era of Ottoman rule, the monastery served as the seat and refuge of revolutionaries and its history has been linked with Xopateras, a dynamic monk who fought the Ottomans laying siege to the Monastery on his own. After the Ottomans killed him, they set fire to the tower and destroyed the monastery.
The monastery includes wonderful 15th century icons by the painter Angelos, such as the Life-giving Fontand Saint Fanourios, while the murals of the chapels and nearby churches, which are also worthy of note, were painted during various eras.
There is a small museum with an old oil press, a stone oven, old farming tools, a wine press and other utensils.References:
Goryōkaku (五稜郭) (literally, 'five-point fort') is a star fort in the Japanese city of Hakodate on the island of Hokkaido. The fortress was completed in 1866. It was the main fortress of the short-lived Republic of Ezo.
Goryōkaku was designed in 1855 by Takeda Ayasaburō and Jules Brunet. Their plans was based on the work of the French architect Vauban. The fortress was completed in 1866, two years before the collapse of the Tokugawa Shogunate. It is shaped like a five-pointed star. This allowed for greater numbers of gun emplacements on its walls than a traditional Japanese fortress, and reduced the number of blind spots where a cannon could not fire.
The fort was built by the Tokugawa shogunate to protect the Tsugaru Strait against a possible invasion by the Meiji government.
Goryōkaku is famous as the site of the last battle of the Boshin War.