One-off and unusual pieces of architecture – some like fortresses, these monasteries were valuable centres of the arts and letters for the Cretan Renaissance. Sacred tress and age-old stories embellish the monastic tradition here.
This is one of the oldest convents on Crete, situated south of Venerato village and built on top of the ruins of an ancient temple, as confirmed by the capitals located in the courtyard of the convent.
The Holy Monastery of Saint George Gorgolainis, one of the most historic monasteries on Crete, was founded by Archpriest Sylvester in the 13th century, while the single-space arch-covered church dedicated to Saint George was erected in 1627.
The monastery, located south of Kroussonas, on the foothills of Psiloritis, was one of the richest monasteries during the first years of the era of Ottoman rule.
At the southern entrance of the homonymous gorge is located the Saint Agios Nikolaos Monastery, which was the third major monastery of the region of Zaros. Today, is maintained only the small temple of Saint Nikolaos which is going back to the 14th century.
Vrontisi Monastery, located northwest of Zaros, is one of the most renowned and important monasteries on Crete, serving as a noteworthy centre for letters and arts during the Cretan Renaissance and the scholars, artists and venerable monks of Vrontisi Monastery sealed the era with their presence during the final centuries of the era of Venetian rule.
The women's coenobitic Monastery of Panagia Kaliviani (Mother Mary of Kalyvia) is located at the site of a men's monastery from the Byzantine era that was destroyed by the Ottomans. The 14th century chapel of Zoodochos Pigi has survived.