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Located at the foothills of Psiloritis mountain, the Arkady Monastery is named after the monk Arkaidos. This beautiful monastery was built in 1587, replacing another church on the location. The monastery is based on the Renaissance architecture and depicts its styling in elegance. During its prime, this was a significant monastery where copying of Greek manuscripts, as well as workshops for church embroideries, took place. In 1866, this monastery was besieged, and approximately 1000 people took refuge in it. Soon an explosion caused by the besiegers buried everyone within. Thus, this monastery has turned into an eternal symbol of freedom in the history of Greece. November 8th is commemorated as the day of Cretan resistance after this tragedy and holds an important role in the history of Greece as well as Crete.
Visit the historical and elegant Arkady Monasteri
The Claustra or the western door has been rebuilt after the siege of November 1866. The original door was destroyed during the siege which killed over a thousand innocent people along with all the soldiers in the siege. This door was rebuilt in 1870 after the siege by the Turks ended. The marks of the renaissance styling can be seen in this door. This was considered as the main entrance to the wealthy monastery during its prime.
The Abbot's residence was a gathering and hospice area during the heydays of the monastery. This area was destroyed during the revolt of 1866 as well. This area lay demolished for about forty years before it was rebuilt in the year 1905. Built using blocks of stone, this area is an example of architecture cues from the 20th century.
This attraction of the monastery is a witness to the siege of 1866 by the Turks. This tree, standing since before the siege has bullets fired from the Turks' rifles lodged into it. These bullets from a cross which faces the church. This tree wounded during the revolt stands to this day as a proof of the atrocities of the Turks on this Greek island.
This museum was once upon a time used by the monks to eat their meals. During the revolt of 1866, this place witnessed the slaughter of 36 people by the Turks and since then has turned into a place of martyrdom. After the siege, this place was turned into a museum of the monastery. This museum now hosts the various heirlooms up till the 20th century which was owned by the foundation.
The cellars have always been an integral part of the monastery. This is where the poor who sought shelter in the monastery were hosted and fed. The pilgrims, passersby and works were also hosted. These large chambers indicate the kind of life the poor lived during that period.
Portali is a gate to the south of the monastery. This place had great importance during the 1866 revolt. Three messengers had escaped from here before the siege began to seek help. Originally, this gate was used by the herdsmen who visited the Monastery. This gate, though not as elegant as the main, shows us the difference in the lifestyle of the wealthy and poor during those times.
How to Get Tickets?
Tickets are available at the ticketing counters at the entrance. The ticketing counters tend to have long queues and fairly long waiting time.
How To Get Around?
The Monastery can be reached by taxi or public transport. Once inside the attraction, walking is the only way to get around.
What Should I Wear?
Casual and comfortable clothes are the way to go. Avoid wearing anything fancy. Shoes are recommended.
Best Time to Visit
June to September is considered as the best time to visit Crete. The weather is pleasant during this period.
Will I Need a Guide?
How To Get There?
Crete is well connected to the rest of Greece by road as well as air. There are plenty of buses plying to the city from other major cities.
Carry a bag of essential items like a bottle of water, etc.