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Category: Forest
Prefecture: Heraclion
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Places near Pefkias

Vorizia 2738 hits
The village of Voriza is 53km southwest of Heraklion on the Heraklion - Agia Varvara - Gergeri - Zaros - Voriza road. Below (south) the village is the Varsamonero Monastery, down a dirt track. Only the church of Agios Fanourios remains of the monastery. Vorizia is a historic settlement of shepherds with 610 inhabitants (2001 census). Along with several other villages of Crete, Vorizia were utterly destroyed during WWII because of the participation of its inhabitants in the resistance against the German occupation.Northeast of the village, up on Psiloritis, is where the hideout of the resistance captain Petrakogiorgis. After the war, the state built the settlement of Nea Vorizia in a new location; however, the people decided to rebuild their old village and settle there anew. Today, on the road to the village one can see the ruins of "Nea Vorizia".On the 15th of August of every year, celebrations take place in the village in honour of the resistance against the German occupation. Nikolaos Malikoutis, one of the important leaders of the 1821 revolution was also from Vorizia. By taking the path that crosses the Nida gorge, one can also reach the Nida plateau on Psiloritis.Last but not least must be mentioned also the olive trees on the cultivated hill crests at the village of Voriza.

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Varsamonero Monastery 2702 hits

The Varsamonerou Monastery lies in the surrounding fields of the village Voriza, 54.5 kms from Heraklion City. The monastery is abandoned and, though its cells have been destroyed, its church has some of the most remarkable wall paintings in Crete. These paintings show the high artistic level of the different schools in 15th century Crete.Nowadays the church is known as Agios (Saint) Fanourios but it is also dedicated to Our Lady of the Way and to Saint John: through the years, several extensions were added to the original nave.

The oldest section of the church, dedicated to Our Lady of the Way, has wall paintings that date back to the 14th century. This north nave contains, among others, the outstanding representations of Saint John from Damas, Saint Onoufrios and the Dormition; in the south -and more recent nave- dedicated to Saint John the Forerunner, one can admire several scenes from the Passion (The Entrance to Jerusalem, the Last Supper, the Treason of Judas), the Crucifixion and the Epitaph.

The arch and eastern section of the church are from the 15th century (1400-1407).

All these wall paintings form an important part of the Cretan heritage during the first centuries of Venetian rule. In the Varsamonerou Monastery there were other remarkable icons, painted by the famous artist Angelos, and the beautifully carved iconostasis of the monastery is now in the Historical Museum of Crete, in Heraklion. This iconostasis is an outstanding example of religious art.The monastery, famous for all the art representations it possessed, was also known for its studies: a great number of books were to be found in its library. Not only religious books but ancient Greek texts as well: a catalogue, dating back to 1644, gives us the names of several philosophical treaties by such writers as Xenophon, Eschynis, Plutarch, etc.The monastery was abandoned at the beginning of the 18th century.