Rethymno Preveli Monastery

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Location: Preveli

The Holy Monastery of Preveli in Rethymnon Crete: The monastery of Preveli is spotted on the rocky hills of Preveli canyon, on the southern side of Rethymnon Prefecture, Crete. It consists of two monasteries, the Lower or Kato Preveli and the Upper or Pisso Monastery of Agios Ioannis Theologos, about 3 km far from Kato Preveli, which is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. The monasteries date back to the middle 16th century. Through all these years, they were destroyed many times but they were always restored. It is said that the monastery owes its name to the noble Preveli family from Rethymnon town who contributed in its restoration in the 18th century.

Kato Preveli is a typical Orthodox monastery with the church of John the Baptist in the center. The buildings in the rectangular courtyard constitute the cells of the monks and some additional buildings. The monks spend most time of the year here rather than in Pisso Preveli, which is deserted today but still makes a beautiful site nestled among the mountains.

Many valuable relics and icons of the monastery were looted during the wars. The remaining collections can be seen at the Ecclesiastical Museum of Kato Preveli, where there are religious garments, relics, icons from the 17th century and a historical cross that depicts the Baptism of Jesus Christ and was used as a banner in wars.

Kato Preveli Monastery consists of a double-aisled basilica with a complex of buildings around it holding the dining hall, the food cellars, guest reception, and meeting halls. Near the large dining hall is the monk's hostel which has exits to the slopes of the mountains, which was very useful in times of war in the past. An old fountain with the inscription 1701 is still used as a water source. In the interior, the icons of Saint John and Saint Charalambos and the biblical frescoes are works of artists from the Cretan school of Art and date from the 16th century.

During the struggle of Cretans for liberation, the Monastery of Preveli served as a refuge for soldiers and rebellions. The monks of the monastery have always played an important role in the history of Crete, providing shelter to the Cretan soldiers, despite the fact that in this way they put their lives in danger. The monastery today is open to public and it commands a wonderful view over the mountainous nature of Crete.



1 Reviews
  • olli.lampinen 25 Aug 2013
    Fine monastery in Preveli
    At date 08.07.2013 I visited Preveli Monastery with my friend Mixalis Petrakis. We went there with his car from Rethymno. The distance from Rethymno was 40 kilometres. The way was very intresting with fine and high mountings.

    The Preveli Monastery is located close to the nice Preveli Beach. The Holy Stavropgiac and Patriachal Preveli Monastery of Saint John the Theologian, known as the Monastery of Preveli, is one of the largest and finest monasteries in Greece. Monastery and its dependencies cover a large estate land on the south coast of Crete.

    The monastery consisted of two main building complexes. The oldest date related to the monastery is 1594, and it is engraved on a bell. There was a very large and interesting museum and a fine monastery church. The place is very beautiful and interesting located close to the sea. The view from the monastery out to the sea is fine. If you visit Crete go to this place I am sure that you will like it.