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Vossako Monastery

Place description

The Holy Cross Monastery (Timios Stavros) in Vosako is situated on a small plateau amidst the peaks of Koutroulis and Mesokofinas in the Talean Mountains, approximately 50km east of Rethymno. To reach the monastery, visitors can drive through the village of Doxaro, where they will be greeted by the stunning, rugged landscape. Alternatively, there is another route that begins in the village of Sisses.

The name Vossako is derived from the Greek words “vous” (buff) and “sakos” (fold), which translates to “cattle pen.” This is likely because the plateau was once used to feed cattle.

Constructed like a fortress, the monastery’s main temple (Katholiko) is dedicated to the Holy Cross. During celebrations, pilgrims embark on a challenging trek to the monastery from Kalo Horafi, near Panagia Charakiani in Bali, which takes around 2-3 hours.

Up until the late 20th century, the monastery lay in ruins and was completely abandoned. However, it has since been restored and now functions normally. The buildings are spread across two levels and feature two courtyards, with the main temple located in the southern courtyard. A beautiful Venetian fountain can be found outside the temple, while the main entrance is quite impressive.

Historically, the monastery played a significant role in the revolution against the Turks, leading to its destruction by them on two separate occasions.

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