Agios Nikolaos Monastery (Saint Nicholas) can be found at the end of the stunning Gafaris (or Rouvas) canyon, approximately 48km southwest of Heraklion and 3km north of Zaros village. In 1994, a massive fire destroyed much of the gorge’s beautiful pine forest, and the monastery is located near this site.
Visitors can reach the monastery by car from Zaros, taking the path that leads to the gorge (20 minutes north of Lake Zaros). Regrettably, the monastery’s architecture is a modern and unattractive anomaly within this landscape. The only points of interest for visitors are the old church of St. Nicholas, featuring 14th-century Paleologean-style frescoes, and the restored temple of Agia Paraskevi.
Originally, the monastery functioned as a secondary monastery of Varsamonero Monastery. It was later abandoned but has since been repurposed as a monastery for Old Calendarists. They have constructed a large modern temple and various cells, utility rooms, and other facilities. The current temple is dedicated to the Resurrection of Christ and Agia Kiriaki, while the bell tower houses eight bells, the heaviest of which weighs 12 tons.
In the surrounding area, visitors can also explore the ancient cavernous church of St. Efthimios, adorned with numerous frescoes and featuring an inscription dating back to 1438.
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