Places near Vrisses
The Monastery of Koufi Petra is a new monastery near the town of Neapoli, Lassithi prefecture and is accessible from a junction on the road from Vrisses to Neapoli, not far from the main road Agios Nikolaos - Heraklion.
The monastery, is located at the foot of Mount Kavalaras, very close to the Kremaston Monastery and was founded in the early 17th century as a contract resulting from the Monastery Aretiou.The view from the Monastery at the mountains of Mirabello and the Neapoli plain is panoramic. Very close to the monastery, there are the ruins of a small temple that was built in a cavernous rock. Probably the name of the monastery (Hollow Stone) is taken after this cavernous temple.
It is dedicated to the assumption of Virgin Mary and celebrates on August 15. It is the only surviving example in eastern Crete of a ‘cross-in-square’ domed church. The main part of the church dates to the end of the 11th or early 12th century, while the attached narthex on the west side dates from the Venetian occupation.
The church was completely restored in 2008 by the 13th Archaeological Service of Byzantine Antiquities. Remarkable architectural and decorative elements of the church are its dome, the saw-tooth strip under the roofing tiles, the blind arches, the alternating masonry blocks and bricks, and the stone-carved doorframe of the entrance. All the inside parts of the masonry appear to have been covered with frescoes, which once decorated the church.
The monastery was built at the end of the sixteenth century. The date 1593 appears over the main entrance to the monastery, and the year 1622 in the church. This beautifully situated monastery on the slope of a hill overlooking Neapolis, was occupied by the Turkish administrator of the Lassithi prefecture, Kostis Pasha, while Neapolis was being built. I visited it as part of a very small group and the nuns were very welcoming - offering us a drink and a chance to cool down inside the monastery. They also have a small shop with some beautiful hand made items which is worth a look. All money goes to the upkeep of this fabulous place.
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