Crete : Sightseeing
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Gonia Monastery & Museum
The monastery of Gonia (GR: Μονή Γωνιάς) or Panagia Odigitria, is located 1 km north of Kolimbari (along the Spatha penninsula) and 24 km from the city of Chania in a wonderful place with a magnificent view to the bay of Hania. It was built in the 17th century, in the Venetian fortress style, and it is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin.
The monastery replaced an older, 13th-century structure, which was located on the territory of an adjacent cemetery.
Minoan Megaron at Vathypetro
The Minoan villa at Vathypetro was most likely the residence of a local ruler. Its architecture is comparable to that of a "Little Palace": it has a central and west court, a small tripartite shrine, a three-columned portico, storerooms and workshops. It seems that the construction of the building was never completed. Interesting elements of its architecture are the installations of a wine-press in the south wing and an oil-press in the courtyard.
Rethymnon Old Port
Rethymnon old port was of great strategic importance during the Venetian period. It was only able to accommodate small ships. From 1300 until today, the Venetian port has undergone numerous constructions. The 1618 wall that surrounds the port from the east is restored today with some recent interventions and additions. The original lighthouse was constructed during the Turkish period and was later replaced by another one. The building on the southeast part of the port was constructed in 1931 and functioned as a customs office. On the same location it is estimated that there was a quarantine house during the Venetian period. The vaulted spaces on the two or three-floor buildings at the port have been transformed to little and picturesque fish taverns, where visitors can enjoy the secrets of the Cretan cuisine.
The Fortezza castle, at the top of a low hill named "Palaiokastro" dominates the town. It was built in 1590 to protect the city from the pirates raids and the Turks.
The name "Palaiokastro which means 'The old Castle' was in use even by the Venetians which demonstrates the existance of an even older castle at this place. - Probably the acropolis of the ancient town of Rithymna.
The interior of Fortezza accommodated the following basic buildings: the storeroom of the artillery, where canons and weapons were kept, the residence of the Councilors, where one of the city's two Venetian councilors lived, the residence of the Rector, which represented a luxurious, magnificent building in the central square of the fortress.
Today parts of those buildings, as well as of some others built later, can be seen. The view from up there is magnificent, especially at night.
The municipal theatre "Erofili" stands also at Fortezza's premises. It is an outdoor theatre that hosts almost all the performances during the Renaissance Festival.
Contemporary Art Museum of Crete
Rethymnon Old Town
The Contemporary Art Museum of Crete was founded in 1992 as Municipal Gallery ‘L. Kanakakis'. It is housed in a Venetian building at the old city of Rethymno, below the Fortezza fortress and the Archaeological Museum. It houses a permanent exhibition of the work of Lefteris Kanakakis (oil paintings, sketches and aquarelles), thus representing all the stages of his achievements, as well as works of contemporary Greek artists, which cover a broad spectrum of modern Greek art as it has been accomplished from 1950 until today.
Address: 5, Heimaras Str. 741 00 Rethymno
Tel: +30 28310 52530
Rethymno Archaeological Museum
Rethymnon Old Town
It is housed in the church of Agios Frangiskos in the center of the old town. It exhibits objects from the Neolithic to the Roman period, found at the prefecture of Rethymno (mainly Eleftherna, Monastiraki and Armeni). Clay figurines, funerary coffers, grave offerings, statues, grave steles, red-figure vases, bronze vessels, jewellery and glass vases, are some of the objects on display.
St. Francis Church - 4 Agiou Fragiskou str.,
Telephone: +30 28310 27506
Winter: 08:00 - 15:00 November 1 - March 31
Summer: 10:00 - 18:00 April 1 - October 31, except Tuesday.
Historical and Folklore Museum of Rethymno
Rethymnon old town
The Historical and Folklore Museum of Rethymno is located next to the Neratze Mosque. It is an institution of public benefit, founded in 1973 by the President of the Historical and Folklore Institution, Christoforos Stavroulakis, and Fali Vogiatzaki. The museum is housed in a restored Venetian building with an interior courtyard. The building is a wonderful piece of urban residence of the last phase of the Venetian occupation of Crete, built in the renaissance style by traditional craftsmen.
Monastery of St. Peter and St. Paul
Iraklion Old Town
It is situated approximately in the middle of the seaside wall. It was built from the first years of the venetian domination and belonged to the monastic order of Dominicans (Domenicani Predicatori). It was one of the most important and biggest Catholic monasteries of the city. The earthquake of 1508 caused a lot of damages to the temple. It consists of a long aisle which is roofed by a two slope roof and ends at a sanctuary roofed by two vaults. To the north and south wall of the temple there are windows of different types that were opened either during the Turkish period, or even earlier.
Hania Municipal Market
The Market, impressive for its size and shape, is built in the shape of a cross with 76 shops grouped according to their wares in the four arms of the cross. The south façade is particularly well constructed out of chiseled limestone, in the architectural style of the local tradition, developed during the Venetian period. Its construction was completed in 1913 and the formal opening was made by Eleftherios Venizelos on 4th December 1913 as part of the celebrations for the Unification of Crete to Greece.
Nikos Kazantzakis Museum
The Nikos Kazantzakis Museum is dedicated to the great Greek writer, poet and philosopher Nikos Kazantzakis. It was founded in 1983 and it is located at the village Myrtia in Iraklion, next to his father's house.
The museum contains some of his personal belongings (pipes, glasses, pens, etc.) and a rich collection of his manuscripts and letters, first Greek editions of his books, documents from theatrical productions of his works, copies of TV series and movies based on his novels, portraits of Nikos Kazantzakis, copies of press releases and articles on his life and work.
Palaikastro Archaeological site
Sitia, East Lassithi
At the northernmost edge of the eastern coast of Crete lie the ruins of a settlement which flourished during the Late Minoan period (1550-1220 B.C.). At the same site, however, are preserved remains of the Early and Middle Minoan periods (3000-1550 B.C.), mostly cemeteries with well-built ossuaries, and ruins of spacious houses. The site ceased to be inhabited at the same time when Zakros was abandoned (1450 B.C.) but was reoccupied during the Late Minoan III period (1300-1200 B.C.). The city covered a total area of more than 50,000 sq.m., was densely inhabited but not fortified.
To the NE of one of the city's sectors lies the sanctuary of Diktaian Zeus, which belonged administratively to the city of Itanos. Cult practice was continuous from the Geometric period (8th century B.C.) until the Roman conquest. It seems that the sanctuary was plundered and destroyed by fanatic Christians at the end of the 4th century A.D.
Historical and Folklore Museum of Gavalohori
Gavalohori, Vamos, Apokoronas
The exhibition of the objects takes place according to the contemporary museum conception, with explanatory texts, photographs, plans, models, and is enriched with new exhibits every year. The Museum is divided into seven rooms, according to the following units: The Arched House, Silk, Pottery, Lace-making, Masonry and Stone carving, Church and Woodcarving.
Messara plain, South - East Iraklion
The monastery of Odigitria is a monastery of great importance and historical value and one of the oldest in Crete. It is located at the west edge of the Asterousia mountains at an altitude of 250 m.
The monastery was surrounded by walls, part of them still stands. The temple of the monastery is dedicated to the assumption of Holly-Mother and to the Saint Apostles (Peter & Paul). Inside the temple there are valuable frescoes, icons of famous painters and iconostasis.
The monastery is connected with the legendary freedom fighter 'Ksopateras' (1788 - 1828)
In the area of the monastery at Agioi Eftihianoi was found an ancient (Early Minoan) cemetery.
Messara, Iraklion South
Vori is a beautiful, traditional village of the county of Pirgiotissas in the Messara Valley. It is located 60 km south of Iraklion and in the western part of the Messara Valley. The village stretches in a slope, by the side of a small river. The archaeological site of Phaistos is 2 km to the south and the coast of Messara 4 km to the west.
South - coast Iraklion
Agiofaraggo (GR: Αγιοφάραγγο the gorge of Saints) is a small gorge at the southern shores of Heraklion close to the village and the beach of Kaloi Limenes and 6 kilometers south of the Monastery of Odigitria.
Sitia, East Lassithi
The Monastery of Kapsa is located 40 km from the town of Sitia at the exit of the Pervolakia Gorge built against the steep rocks overlooking the Libyan sea. The exact time of the foundation of the monastery is still unknown, while some believe that it was in the 15th century. Until 1841 there were only a small chapel dedicated to the Saint John the Baptist and a few cells.
Vassiliki - Archaeological Site
Pahia Ammos, Ierapetra
The ancient settlement of Vasilike is one of the first Minoan settlements with town-planning. It occupies the top and slopes of a low hill near the village Vasilike, in the vicinity of the Minoan settlement of Gournia. The first settlement dates back to the Early Minoan II period (2600-2300 B.C.) and owed its development not only to the strategic position, controlling the Isthmus of Hierapetra, but also to the neighbouring fertile plains. The central building of the settlement was destroyed by fire in around 2300 B.C.
Venetian port, Chania
The temple Kioutsouk (small) Hassan or Giali Tzamisi (seaside mosque), as it was commonly called, a brilliant sample of Islamic art of the Renaissance was a work of an Armenian architect, who had constructed another similar mosque in 'Spaniako', a village in the county of 'Selino'. The mosque, in the yard of which there were palm trees and graves of pashas and janissaries, stopped operating in 1923 and today it is restored without the small and picturesque minaret demolished in 1920.
Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Collection of Chania
Hania, old town
The wealth of archaeological material yielded by excavations conducted over many years by the 13th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities in the county of Chania, and also by retrieval of material and donations, forms a Collection that records, with great clarity, the history of the westernmost county in Crete from Early Christian times to the period of Turkish rule. Representative examples of this Collection are displayed in the church of San Salvatore.
San Salvatore Monastery
Hania, old town
The Franciscan monastery of San Salvatore, that houses the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Collection of Chania, was built on the west side of the fortress of Chania, in three phases from the 15th century until the late Venetian period (middle of 17th century). The extensive restoration of the church made it possible to identify more clearly the various building phases of the monument, unify the space, and display its austere, uncluttered architectural features to good effect. The original church, which probably dates from the 15th century, was the small domed section on the east side.
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