"Katholiko Monastery" Monasteries Tip by Jmill42
Monasteries, Crete Island: 14 reviews and 26 photos
After I dropped one of my friends off at the Hania airport, my other friend and I decided to explore the area, because there seemed to be a few places along the coast that were pretty vague in our guidebook. It was one of the better decisions of my trip, because what we found was a hike as interesting as the Samaria Gorge hike, caves, and a most impressive church built into the side of the rocky cliffs. That monastery is called the Katholiko Monastery, and it is the oldest monastery on Crete. Built in the 11th century, it became a place of formal worship in the thirteenth century, when monks inhabited it. The natural caves were used as shelter for the monks, who lived a very dedicated life of fasting and prayer. They were forced to leave their cliff-side dwellings after numerous pirate invasions.
The monastery is actually built into the sides of a rocky cliff and contains a church dedicated to Agios Ioannis Xenos, or St. John the Hermit, who founded the monastery. There is a cave nearby that was named after him, because he used it as his dwelling.
There is a bridge located in front of the church that is still well preserved and used by the tourists who make it this far.
Be prepared for a hike from the road that brings you here. While no where near as long as Samaria, it is a bit of a hike, and more importntly, back up.
Directions: North of the Hania airport, there are signs leading you directly to the beginning of the hike down.
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