Explore Vosakos Monastery: A Scenic Drive to Ancient Beauty

Explore Vosakos Monastery: A Scenic Drive to Ancient Beauty

If you’re a fan of road trips and breathtaking natural beauty, Vosakos Monastery should be on your must-visit list. Nestled amidst the rugged Talean Mountains, this ancient monastery offers a captivating journey and a rich historical experience.

Location and Access:

Vosakos Monastery, also known as the Monastery of the Holy Cross (Timios Stavros), is located 50 km to the east of Rethymno, Crete. Situated at an altitude of 400 meters above sea level, it’s easily accessible by car, making it a convenient destination for travelers.

A Glimpse into History:

The exact founding date of this monastery remains a mystery, but the inscription at the entrance suggests that the first temple may have been established as far back as the 12th century, if not earlier. The name “Vossako” originates from the Greek words “vous” (bull) and “sakos” (stable), referring to its historical use as a cattle pen, owing to its plateau location.

Architectural Wonders:

This Venetian-style monastery was built as a fortress, featuring seven entrances strategically placed on all sides. Stone staircases connect its three levels, showcasing impressive architectural preservation. Constructed with locally sourced materials, the rectangular layout centers around a courtyard, with the main church, Cafolico, dedicated to the Life-Giving Cross.

Restoration and Revival:

For most of the 20th century, Vosakos Monastery lay abandoned and in ruins. However, today, it stands proudly restored and fully functional. Perched on a hillside, it boasts two courtyards, with the primary temple in the southern courtyard. An exquisite Venetian fountain graces the exterior, and the monastery’s grand entrance leaves a lasting impression.

Historical Significance:

Beyond its architectural splendor, Vosakos Monastery played a crucial role in the fight against the Ottoman Empire. As a result, it suffered destruction at the hands of the Turks on two occasions, underscoring its historical significance.

Plan your visit to Vosakos Monastery for a captivating blend of history, architecture, and natural beauty. Don’t miss the scenic drive through the Talean Mountains that leads to this hidden gem.