Panagia Monastery in Gourni
The twin-naved church of the Virgin Mary (Panagia) and the Ascension of the Lord is built on a steep site in the location Gourni 1km west from Stavros village and 10km north of Ierapetra Town.
The church was apparently a Catholicon of a monastery, of which today extensive construction relics can be seen on ground level. The original church is the southern aisle, dedicated to the Assumption, measuring 6.00 x 7.50 metres. It belongs to the type of barrel-vaulted church with a supporting arch (sfendonio).
Typologically similar but without a sfendonio is the northern aisle added in a second building phase, probably in the 16th century. At the same time a vaulted narthex, common to both churches, was constructed. In the third construction phase, after the collapse of the narthex, the large arched communication openings on the western wall of the two aisles were walled up and normal doors were formed instead.
Frescoes are maintained only in the church of Panagia. The iconographic program comprises two modules: the highly compact Christological cycle that dominates the eastern part with a big depiction of the Ascension, and the extensive Marian cycle developed in the west. Five scenes can be discerned from this cycle at present (Prayer of Joachim and Anna, Birth, Flattery, Assumption). Despite the significant damages, we can distinguish a particularly competent artist, who represents a very mature artistic style of the 15th century.
Places near Panagia Monastery in Gourni
Panagia Vreomeni Monastery is an impressive monastic complex which probably dates from the Byzantine period. The Monastery church belongs to the type of monochrome domed church and came up from to construction phases.
The original church, was built in 1400 and during the 16th century an overhead narthex was added. The interior of the original church is full of wall paintings that are sample production paintings of Crete in the early 15th century while the 16th century constructions have richness and originality in the decorative motifs. The monastery is currently today inactive and belongs to Meseleroi Parish.