Churches & Monasteries in Chania
Monastery of Agia Triada Tzagkarolon
The Monastery of Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) Tsagarolon is located northeast of Chania town, in the peninsula Akrotiri and close to our hotel. This is an impressive monastery and in fact, it is the largest of all monasteries in Crete. Its architecture has elements of the Venetian and the Cretan Renaissance style. A big yard is found in the center and a couple of beautiful chapels are included within the monastery.
The monastery flourished in the 18th century and its monks took part in the Greek Revolution and the Cretan fight for independence at the end of the 19th century, as all the monasteries of Crete did. Because of the revolutionary action of its monks, the monastery was burnt and plundered by the Turks in 1821, who took most of the relics.
In 1855, the monastery was renovated and in 1892, it turned into a Theologian School. The library that is kept until today has many rare books and manuscripts. In the yard of the monastery, you will find the chapels of Saint Apostles and of Saint Crucifixion.
In recent years the monastery performs systematic biological olive crops and vineyards and produces fine wine, raki, oil, honey, vinegar and olive oil soap. The monastery produces 20 tonnes of organic virgin olive oil, awarded in international competitions and is mainly sold abroad. All the products of the Trinity Monastery you can buy in a shop that works inside the monastery area.
The Monastery of Gouverneto (or Our Lady of the Angels), is located close to our hotel, on the northern side of the Akrotiri peninsula. This is considered among the oldest monasteries in Crete as it was established in 1537. It must also have been among the largest monasteries of Crete in the past, as according to testimonies about 60 monks were living there the period before the occupation of Crete from the Ottomans.
The architecture of this monastery looks like a castle, with towers that used to protect it from enemies. Only two of the four towers survive today, but the remains of the other two can be seen in the yard. The katholikon of the monastery is dedicated to Virgin Mary. The style is influenced by the Renaissance and the Baroque.
The Monastery of Gouverneto was founded by Saint John the Hermit, which is why a small chapel is dedicated to him next to the katholikon. Also, his cave can be seen in the nearby Avlaki Gorge. The cave of St. John was once the bed of an underground river and has a length of over 100 meters and an area of 1500 sq.m. Another chapel in the monastery is dedicated to the Ten Saints of Crete. Inside the Monastery of Gouverneto, there is a small ecclesiastical museum with precious relics.
Monastery of Panagia Chrissoskalitissa
The historical Monastery of Panagia Chrissoskalitissa is located on the southwestern side of Chania, on the way to Elafonisi village. It is actually a lovely traditional settlement with a few permanent inhabitants. The white monastery lies on top of a cliff right above the beach of Elafonisi and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Its name Chrissoskalitissa means golden steps and the tradition has it that one of the 90 steps that lead to the monastery is golden but only people with a pure heart can see it.
This monastery was built during the Venetian times. During the Turking occupation of Crete, it was deserted and only a few cottage houses were found in the area. At that time, the monastery was a shelter for seamen who were caught in the storm. The Monastery was reinhabited again in 1855 when a monk from Askifou renovated the building and built new cells.
Since then, the Monastery of Chrissoskalitissa is continuously inhabited. Today, it is a famous pilgrimage site and its rooms are open to the public including a folklore museum displaying items of daily use, instruments, tools, and memorials of the Cretan Revolution.