Rethymno Asomaton Monastery

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Location: Amari

Asomaton Monastery stands 35 kilometers southeast of Rethymno Town, in the midst of a fertile verdant valley formed by Mount Kedros and the Psiloritis mountain range. It is dedicated to Agioi Asomatoi (the Incorporeal Saints or Angels) and celebrates on the 8th of November.

It was founded in the 13th century, and, during the 1700s, it underwent extensive reconstruction. It was briefly abandoned during the 1821 Greek War of Independence, but, subsequently, it flourished once more. The building complex was surrounded by a strong wall that made it look like a fortress so that it occasionally served as a stronghold for Cretan insurgents. The oldest surviving buildings date back to the 17th century, while the main church of the monastery stands in the middle of the compound. This chapel was constructed in the 14th century on the site of a pre-existing 10th-century temple that collapsed during the 1303 earthquake. Research has revealed six tombs and bronze 10th-century crosses beneath the temple’s floor.

The monastery houses the two rare 17th-century icons of the Holy Trinity and the Archangels, while a variety of other religious items, such as icons, books and vestments embroidered with gold thread, are exhibited in the Historical Museum of Crete.

In 1927, the Asomati Agricultural School was established on the site of the monastery, leading to a dramatic alteration of the monument’s original architecture. Many ancillary buildings were added, while the wall surrounding it was pulled down. The school used to be one of the most important research institutes in Crete and even attracted visitors who came to admire its beautiful gardens with their fountains and peacocks.

Today, the Asomaton Monastery is being restored so that it can once more function as a convent, while, after nearly five decades of abandonment, the Agricultural School has evolved into an innovative research center for the development of animal husbandry.



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