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Halepa Monastery

Place description

Perched atop a towering hill near the villages of Tsahiana and Veni, and 46km east of Rethymno, lies the Monastery of Christ the Savior of Chalepa. From this vantage point, visitors can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the Mylopotamos valley. Once a collection of ruins prior to 2000, the monastery has since been restored and now operates as one of the most picturesque monasteries in Crete.

The monastery’s surroundings are abundant with vineyards, olive trees, and in some areas, oak forests. Although the exact date of its establishment remains unknown, it is undoubtedly one of the oldest surviving monasteries in Crete, with its origins dating back to the Venetian period.

The main church, a two-aisled basilica without a dome, is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savior and the birth of Christ. Among the monastery’s highlights is the ancient relief fountain.

Located 300m outside the monastery, the Church of Agia Marina features old frescoes and the coat of arms of the Kallergis family, one of the most prominent families during the Venetian period. This suggests that the region was once part of their fiefdoms. The Kallergis family held such power that they were granted special privileges by the Venetians, which were unknown to other Cretans. Before relocating to its current site in 1673, the Halepa monastery initially functioned as a nunnery at this location.

Due to its strategic position and robust economic autonomy, the Halepa monastery served as the epicenter of numerous battles throughout the Ottoman period.

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