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Gouverneto Monastery

About 19 kilometers east of Chania town and less than three kilometers from Agia Triada Tzagaroli, you will find another one of Crete's monastic pearls: Gouverneto Monastery. The complex stands at the entrance of the Avlaki Gorge, 290 meters above sea level, in a natural area of rare beauty.

It is a fortified monastic complex, probably founded by the monks of the nearby Katholiko Monastery, who retired here to escape pirates' attacks. Constructed sometime before 1537, Gouverneto is one of Crete's oldest religious sites of its kind still in operation. Because the church of the complex is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the monastery is sometimes called Kyria ton Agelon (Lady of the Angels Monastery). The church has a beautifully ornate Venetian façade, with an entrance decorated with relief depictions of monsters.

You will also find two small chapels in the courtyard of the monastery, one dedicated to Agii Deka (Saints Ten) and the other to Saint John the Hermit, who died in the nearby cave at Katholiko Monastery in the 11th century. In one of the chapels, you can see the remains of some of the oldest frescoes on the island.

If you visit Gouverneto Monastery, plan ahead and wear sturdy hiking shoes if you want to see the Katholiko Monastery. This is in the Avlaki Gorge, at the end of a steep cobblestoned trail that passes Church of St. Anthony and the Cave of Panagia Arkoudiotissa.

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