Chania Gouverneto Monastery

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Location: Stavros

Gouverneto Monastery, also known as Our Lady of the Angels, is located on the northern side of the Akrotiri peninsula, 19 km from Chania. It is considered one of the oldest monasteries in Crete as it was established in 1537. It was also among the largest monasteries on the island in the past, with about 60 monks living there at the time Crete passed from Venetian to Ottoman control.

The monastery is said to have been built by the monks who previously resided at Katholikon Monastery, downhill from Gouverneto, who sought a higher location, better protected from pirate raids.
Gouverneto has seen its share of hardships: in 1821, 7 of the monastery’s monks were killed by Ottoman forces as they looted the area’s churches and during World War II, German occupiers established a guardhouse at the monastery to oversee the surrounding area

The monastery’s unique architecture grants it a Venetian fort-like appearance, with towers gracing the corners of the surrounding wall to protect it from enemies. Only two of the four towers survive today, but the remains of the other two can be seen in the yard. The main temple is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, while the narthex is dedicated to Saint John the Hermit and the Ten Holy Martyrs.
The church is characterized by its unique façade, designed in 1621 by Ieremias Tzangarolos with Renaissance, Mannerist, and Baroque influences. The most notable trait of this part of the building is the face-pulling masques carved into the walls.



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