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Category: Church
Prefecture: Heraclion
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Places near Church

Gonies 2903 hits
The magnificent village of Gonies is situated 40 km from Heraklion on the foot of the Lassithi Mountains at an altitude of 290metres, amidst luxuriant vegetation. It is an astonishing oasis for nature lovers, wanderers and explorers of natural beauties, as it starts from one of the most important gorges on Crete, Ampelos. 
The gorge is 6 kilometres long; the verdant environment of acorn woods, holm-oak trees and abundant waters completes the picture of absolute beauty. The gorge ends at the windmills of Seli Ambelou (entrance to the plateau of Lassithi). All those features of Gonies make up a fabulous landscape with a panoramic view, offered for explorations and relaxing wanders. There are also caves, adorned with stalactites and stalagmites. 

During the celebration of Our Lord on 5th of August and of The Holy Mother on the 14th and 15th of August, you can actively participate and be one with the inhabitants. 
Ambelos 2721 hits
The gorge of Ampelos is located 1km southeast from Gonies village, 14km south of Malia coastal resort in central Crete. 

This beautiful gorge is crossed by the river of Aposelemis and features impressive rock formations and a beautiful natural environment. The total length of the gorge is 2km and can by crossed by foot or by car. Following the road that crosses the gorge of Ampelos to the south, you will reach three springs (The springs of Agkathariano) with year round water flow.

There is a second gorge close to Ambelos gorge: The gorge of Roza. This gorge is a "branch" of the gorge of Ampelos. Its entrance is next to the provincial road that crosses the gorge of Ampelos. Its route is south-east and leads to Kera Monastery. It is also an ideal gorge for walking and hiking.

Kera Kardiotissa Monastery
Kera Kardiotissa Monastery 2708 hits

The Monastery of Kera Kardiotissa: Female monastery located on a slope of Lasithi mountains, next to Kera village. After the village of Gonia, the road climbs steadily up the western slopes of Mount Dikti or Lassithi Mountains, which are covered with low vegetation (bushes and wild flowers) and with sparse trees. 

Just before the village of Kera, you will see on your right, next to the road, the Monastery of the Virgin Mary of Kera (closed between 1.00-3.30 p.m.).

The picturesque monastery of Kera, which is dedicated to the birth of Mary, the Mother of God and dates back to 1333, is situated among the settle­ments of Ano Kera, and Kera. Initially, it used to be the glebe of the Monastery of Agarathos, but subsequently it became stavropigiaki, which means that it belonged to and came under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Since and during the Cretan revolutions it was a point of assembly for the rebels, it was ravaged by the Turks many times.

The monastery is famous, mainly due an icon of Virgin Mary, which is believed to have performed many miracles.As the legend goes, the icon itself returned from Constantinople by flying, after being stolen by the Turks twice. Desperate of this, they stole it for the third time by chaining it onto a pillar. That time, the icon returned to Crete on the pillar, which is currently enclosed within a rail and it is exhibited in the courtyard of the monastery for worship. As for the chain, it is considered to be working miracles and it is kept in the church.


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Ano Kera 2686 hits
Kera Village is located 23km south of Mallia city on the way to Lassithi plateau. This is spread in the middle of a valley with abundant waters and luxuriant vegetation. Verdant with fructiferous trees, it offers a breathtaking view. The village lies at the entrance of the Lassithi Plateau. Epano Kera Miniti and Kato Kera are situated at an altitude of 680 and 580metres, respectively. Their name comes from the homonymic monastery of Panagia Kera Kardiotissa (Holly Mother). 

This was built between the two villages and is characterized as a Byzantine monument (961 – 1204 A.D.) Its establishment is related to the thaumaturge icon of Virgin Mary, which is kept in the church of Saint Alfonso Escuelino in Rome, nowadays. The work is attributed to Saint Lazarus dating from the 9th century. That historic monastery used to be the point of guard for the Lassithi Plateau, during Cretan combats. The visitor is impressed by the primeval ways of worship while listening to legends of local tradition and observing the wall paintings in the temple. One can relax with the inhabitants’ hospitality, the view and the environment over a glass of the famous raki, relish the palatable, traditional food served in the taverns of the village and buy the famous popular art handcrafts. Moreover, there are the local celebrations of Panagia Kardiotissa on 8th of September and of Agios Ioannis Rigologos on 29th of August, with traditional music and dances.