Exploring Arkadi Monastery on a Crete Holiday

On my recent excursion, I enjoyed several days in Greece. After leaving, I heard a lot of questions about Crete. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to go there yet, BUT, I have friends that HAVE been there. Luckily, they (thank you Patrick!!) were willing to share some info for those of you interested (which has also given me more motivation to return to Greece to check out the islands).

3986545541 af275071b5 m Exploring Arkadi Monastery on a Crete Holiday

Crete (Photo credit: idleformat)

When it comes to holidays to Crete, you would be forgiven for thinking that there is little else apart from beaches and all inclusive resorts to keep you busy. But contrary to what you may think, there is a whole lot of culture packed onto this tiny island, with some important buildings well worth exploring which includes the fabulously constructed Arkadi Monastery.

Located just outside Rethymnon, the monastery has stood the test of time since it was completed back in the early 16th century and has enjoyed – in the most part – a turbulent history. It sits on top of a fertile plateau and is surrounded by olive trees and vegetation, making it the ideal place to take some stunning photographs of the monastery and the Crete scenery.

The monastery was pillaged by invading Turkish forces in 1648 and for the next few hundreds of year remained under ottoman control, with a number of uprisings organised by the local population against the occupying forces centring on the monastery. Eventually in 1866 the Cretean Revolution drove the invaders out and the monastery began an emblem of Cretan struggle.

These days it is possible to visit the monastery and see some of the scars which this old building still shows. Inside the dining room there are still bullet ad sword marks etched into the wood and in the ossuary there are still the bones of those who died defending the monetary in 1866. Outside in the courtyard there is also a tree with a bullet lodged into it still which is a piece of living history if there ever was one!

If you like a bit of history and enjoy looking at some stunning architecture, then taking a trip to Arkadi monastery is a must when on a Crete luxury holiday. It is regarded as a national shrine on the island so by going to see it will help to better understand what makes Crete what it is today.

The monastery can be easily reached, lying just 23km from the popular town of Rethymnon so there are plenty of transport links to get here. Of course you should sample the local beaches, but don’t forget about the local history too! Be well. And Namaste.


Have you been to Crete? What did you enjoy most about it?

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