The Monastery of Gonia (Panagia Odighitria) in Kolimbari, Chania Crete: The Monastery of Gonia (Panagia Odigitria) is located 26 km from Chania Town and 2,5 km from Kolimbari, on a hill overlooking the Cretan Sea. The monastery was originally founded by the Zealots Monks around the 9th century and it was originally dedicated to Saint George.
Built on the ruins of the ancient temple of Artemis Vritomartis, the monastery was rebuilt in 1618 due to the frequent pirate invasions of that time. As a result, the monks had been forced to pursue a safer place. During the 17th century, the monk Vlassios decided to build the new monastery at its present location, after a vision that he saw. The monastery is surrounded by a great yard with colorful flowers including a line up of the monk cells, the bank and the storehouses.
The architecture was mostly influenced by the Venetians with a narthex and a dome and a number of smaller chapels around the monastery. Today, the Monastery of Gonia is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and it celebrates on 15th of August. Ever since it was founded, the monastery has suffered many great catastrophes but it has also been rebuilt many times.
Particularly, during World War II, it was destroyed by the German bombings, yet it became a shelter for injured people. Today, the monastery owns a great collection of precious relics, icons and religious treasures from the 15th and 17th century. In close distance to the monastery of Gonia, there is the Orthodox Academy of Crete, one of the most important contemporary religious and foundation of the Holy Archdiocese of Crete.