Visit Preveli Monastery on Crete

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If you’re looking to indulge in some history during your visit to Crete, you won’t want to miss visiting the Preveli Monastery. It was and still is an important religious center and place of gathering. Here’s what you should know about the Preveli Monastery.

About the Preveli Monastery

Located on the rocky hills of Preveli Canyon at the southern side of Rethymnon Prefecture, the Preveli Monastery dates back to the 16th century. The monastery actually consists of two monasteries, Kato Preveli (lower) and the Pisso Monastery of Agios Ioannis Theologos, which is located about 3 km from Kato Preveli.

Throughout the years, both monasteries have been damaged many times, but were always repaired. During the 18th century, it is believed the Preveli family from Rethymnon Town contributed to the restoration and their name was given to the monastery.

During various wars, relics and icons from the monastery were looted. Items that were not taken are on display the Ecclesiastical Museum of Kato Preveli. At the museum you can view icons, relics, and religious garments from the 17th century. There is also a historical cross that was used as a banner during the wars. The cross depicts the baptism of Jesus.

Kato Preveli an Orthodox monastery that has the Church of John the Baptist at the center. There are buildings in the courtyard that serve as cells for the monks. The monks of the monastery spend more time at this location than at Pisso Preveli.

Visit Preveli Monastery

Both of the monasteries of Preveli can be visited, though Pisso Preveli is not occupied today. Its location in the mountains makes it a wonderful site to visit. When getting to the monastery, you will see the bridges of Preveli. Over the river Megas Potamos is a bridge that was built between 1850 – 1852 by the locals. The bridge consists of inclined stone and is an impressive piece of architecture to admire. Another bridge is located over the Bourtzoukos stream. It is a more simple bridge that was built in 1852. The bridges will allow you access to the monastery’s farms.

At Kato (lower) Preveli you can admire the old stone walls and charming flower pots that dot much of th area. The site is surrounded by olive groves and cypress trees. An interesting mountain landscape is in the background. Kato Preveli was the monastery that had farming installations and facilities. It was were the younger monks and civilian personnel would stay. There was a chamber used as an olive oil mill.

Pisso Monastery of Agios Ioannis Theologos, also known as the Rear Preveli Monastery, is at the foot of the mountain and overlooks the Libyan Sea. To one side of the entrance of this monastery lies the small cemetery of monks. There is a fountain on site that is still in use that supplies the monastery’s water needs.

Once on the island of Crete, you will find the Preveli Monastery near Preveli Beach. You can drive or take a taxi from Plakias to the monastery.

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