Rethymno Vossakos Monastery

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Location: Doxaro

The Vossakos Monastery is dedicated to the Holy Cross, celebrated on September 14. The monastery was built according to citadel architecture principles, with its shape resembling a fortress. Its name derives from the words vous (ox) and sakos (sack) and means cattle pen. The exact date it was established is unknown, but it is estimated that the monastery has been in use since the Venetian era. On top of its entrance is an inscription saying that the main church was first built in 1195.

The place played a crucial role in Cretan history. In fact, during the 1821 Greek War of Independence, it was burned down by the Turks, who also executed almost all the monks. The abbot and one monk who survived returned later in order to rebuild it. During the 1866 Cretan Revolution, the monastery provided shelter to women and children and took care of Cretan warriors. In 1881, it housed 12 monks, but its power started decreasing. In 1941, it only had 3 monks, until it was finally abandoned in 1955, after their passing.

The monastery consists of a single-aisled, vaulted main church and three wings. The south and west wings include the kitchen, dining hall, and workshops of the monks, while the east wing consists of two small chambers. You will also encounter an open-air wine press, two water cisterns, and a fountain.



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