The Arkadi Monastery is the most famous and significant monastery in the prefecture of Rethymno and in the entire Crete.It is located 20 km from Rethymno in a lush green landscape full of oak trees, kermes oak trees, pine trees and vineyards. Built in 1587, its architecture is influenced in various ways by the early renaissance, the gothic and classic style as well as the early baroque style. The monastery houses a museum with an exhibition of findings from the "Arkadi holocaust", heirlooms, weapons, icons, an ossuary, etc.
It is impossible to know when the monastery was founded as it suffered serious damage and was pillaged many times throughout its history.
The monastery offers a magnificent view of the Libyc sea. You can admire the wood carved chancel with religious icons that are real masterpieces and represent scenes from the Bible in a detailed way.
The catholicon of the monastery is a two-aisled popular art church, built in 1836. It houses the old abbey, which today used as a guest house. You will also find a small museum exhibiting religious icons that date back to the 19th century. There are also interesting documents dating back to 1798 as well as the ledgers of the monastery dating back to the 19th century.
Byzantine church of Panaghia
It is worth visiting the Byzantine church of Panaghia (Virgin Mary) in Fodele village, dating back to the 11th century. Also, don't miss to visit the house where "El Greco" was born, close to the church of Panaghia.
One of the oldest and most important monuments of Christianity in Crete is the Basilica of Agios Titos, which was the seat of the first bishops of the Cretan Church. Located in the Messara Valley, near the village of Agioi Deka, 46 km south of Heraklio towards Timbaki. In the centre of Gortys was the temple of Pythios Apollon, the most important pre-Christian temple, built on the ruins of a Minoan settlement. The most important monuments of ancient Gortys are the ruins of the acropolis and the odeum.