Arkadi Monastery

The Arkadi Monastery is located in the Rethymno Prefecture, 25 kilometers southeast of Rethymno, Crete.... high in the mountains, we travelled along windy roads lined with old olive groves. 

The historical importance of Arkadi lies in the role it played in the Cretan War of Independence. When the revolution was declared, in 1866, all the leaders met at Arkadi, which was chosen because of its strategic position. Ishmael Pasha sent a message to the monks with the bishop of Rethymnon that the revolutionary committee should leave or else the monastery would be destroyed.

The head monk refused to obey. Later the Turks besieged the monastery where many children and women had also gathered. Soon the besieged realized there was little hope but they fought bravely. Rather than surrender to the Turks, they blew themselves up with gunpowder to avoid captivity. Just a few survived, 114 men and women were taken captives and 864 were killed.

The powder magazine, formerly a wine cellar.

The holocaust of Arkadi was a moral victory for the Cretans. It drew attention to Crete in the West and the way for the freedom of the island was paved.

A decrepit witness of the great battle, wounded and scorched by fire, this old, cross shaped cypress stands pointing to the church.  Bullets can still be seen in its dead bark.

The former windmill of the monastery (pictured below) is used today as an ossuary that preserves the bones of the fighters of the 1866 battle


bramleycards said...

How wonderful!! Always wanted to go to Crete to see what's left from Minoan and Maceanian time

Kellie said...

oh you should, this was our second time on Crete and we still havent seen everything id hoped to (im a huge greek architecture geek!)

bramleycards said...

Would love to, did a bit of history of art and it started with Crete,[as Egypt is it's own subject] and loved it, the Lion Gate etc!!!
Not able to fly a the moment, so I enjoyed your pictures very much, may be one day, Greece and Italy look out!!!

Kellie said...

Oh i do hope you get to them both, i really do.... we apent a few weeks last summer on the amalfi coast and visited pompeii & paestum etc... incredible!

I studied History & appreciation of Art as an A-level and was supposed to go to UCD to study archaeology with ancient greek history....but last minute decided to go to art college and do a degree in fashion biggest regret in life! :(

fingers crossed for your future adventures, best wishes xx

bramleycards said...

I did get to The Italian Riviera in the 70's on the back of a bike!! Knew nothing about how important it was in the HOA, but felt something special the minute we descended down from The Gothard Pass, from Switzerland. We were camping for a week @ Diano Marina and then went to a bike rally called The Madonna Rally where 1 bike from each country that signs in goes into the church to be blessed, then we all went to Alessandria to hear the Archbishop's speech, then the chosen bikers and a girl from the village for each of them went for a meal with him. It was fantastic, all the old people out on route waving to the convoy!!
Would love to go there for six months and do a city a week!!