Crete tourist guide

The best Polish website dedicated to the Greek island Crete and to a small extent of continental Greece. You will find useful information related to visiting Crete that goes beyond the offer of optional tours. On the website you will also find descriptions of the most interesting places that we visited by visiting this largest Greek island. The content complements the current news, photographs and recipes of Greek cuisine.

Moni Toplou (Panagia Akrotiriani)

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Moni Toplou (Μονή Τοπλού) also called as the Monastery of Panagia Akrotiriani, or simply the Great Monastery is one of the most beautiful and important monasteries in Crete. It is located at the foot of the Sidero peninsula and with its 10-meter wall and 33-meter belfry from a distance resembles a fortress. This impression is enhanced by the harsh, flat, almost desert landscape that dominates this part of Crete. Moni Toplou is the only surviving monastery in this area. Others that once found themselves were looted and destroyed during numerous pirate attacks and wars.

Moni Toplou

The genesis of the name

There are several explanations for the origin of the present name under which the monastery functions. Definitely the most popular and seems the closest is saying that the name comes from the Turkish word top meaning cannon. Toplou refers to a small cannon that was part of the then equipment of the monastery. For the first time under this name, this monastery appears in Turkish documents from 1673.


The story of Moni Toplou

Its history dates back to the half of the fifteenth century when it was erected on the ruins of another monastery. The high walls were not built without a reason, because from the very beginning the monastery had to face the pirates and invaders for whom its possessions were very valuable.

In 1530 he was plundered by the Knights of Malta, in 1612 he brought an earthquake that turned the monastery into ruins. However, its strategic location was appreciated by the then invader of Crete - the Venetians, who decided to invest in its reconstruction. Thanks to the financial assistance of the Senate of the Venetian Republic, the monastery regained its splendor. Unfortunately, greasy years did not last long, because in 1646 eastern Crete fell under the Turkish rule, and monks after long ineffective defense abandoned their monastery for a long time.

In 1704, the location of the monastery in a strategic place was again appreciated, as a result of which he received a special permission to operate and privileges, and the monks could reside there.

The Greek revolution of 1821 and the Cretan rebellion against the Turkish authorities of 1866 again exposed the monastery and its inhabitants to the test. Many of them lost their health or life during independence postings, while the clan was again devastated.

The Second World War also did not spare this place. In the monastery, the resistance fighters found shelter and a radio transmitter was used. The discovery of this fact by the Nazis caused cruel vengeance. Abbot and monks were tortured and finally murdered.


Contemporary wealth of Moni Toplou

Today, the memory of those cruel events is supported by contemporary monks who run a museum in the monastery, where souvenirs reminding of the past are kept. Despite numerous plunders, the church has a valuable collection of Byzantine icons, engravings, frescoes and other church items. There is also a valuable document dated to 132 BC, which contains a detailed description of the dispute between the two cities: Itanos and Ierapetra.

The monastery building itself is worth a look. Massive and austere construction with an area of ​​800m 2 . spread over 3 floors, it conceals a less severe monastery yard. The mosaic made of oval pebbles laid out on the edge is a great impression. Such mosaics popular on the island of Rhodes, here in Crete are rare. Resistant to war turmoil, it turned out to be a belfry, which had been interrupted since its construction in 1558. In addition to the main two-nave church in the monastery, there are typical rooms, such as monks' goals, kitchens and warehouses.

Moni Toplou - courtyard

At present, although there are only four monks living in the monastery, it still has large estates. It can also be said that the monastery is managed by the charismatic creative abbot Philotheos Spanoudakis, who is very active in promoting this place. It is thanks to his efforts that the Museum of Copperplate and People's Engravings was opened where you can see very realistic works of the eighteenth and nineteenth-century monks. Promotion of the monastery also takes place thanks to more down-to-earth products such as excellent wine, crayfish and of course organic olive oil. All this is sold under the brand name "Toplou" and available in the monastery store. The number of 30,000 bottles of white wine and the second amount of red gives the idea that the monks properly use the time and gifts of nature.

You can enter the monastery every day from 9 to 18. As with other monasteries, appropriate attire is required. The admission ticket costs about 3 €. Inside the church and in the museum, it is forbidden to take photographs.

How to get to Moni Toplou

Visiting this 15th-century monastery due to its remote location is best combined with a trip to the palm beach of Vai. Moni Toplou is located on the north-eastern tip of Crete, about 10 km east of the city of Sitia and a few kilometers before the palm forest on Vai.

Moni Toplou - access map

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Komentarze

 Zofia Sokołowska
Zofia Sokołowska
2015-07-17 18:15:24

Byłam

1
 Grażyna Durzyńska
Grażyna Durzyńska
2015-07-17 19:11:06

Są do zamówienia wycieczki podczas pobytu? Będę w Malii. A można autem?

 CRETE - Kreta
CRETE - Kreta
2015-07-17 19:39:04

Samochodem jak najbardziej. Jeśli chodzi o fakultety to nie orientujemy się, nie korzystamy z biur podróży.

 Piotr Krauze
Piotr Krauze
2015-07-17 20:13:04

No i tu nie byłem :(

 Grażyna Durzyńska
Grażyna Durzyńska
2015-07-17 22:01:28

Toteż chodziło mi o miejscową wycieczkę.

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