Your Feedback
Marion wrote: I am a sea lover. Seems to be an interesting cruise. david martin Abrahams would love to travel on it.


YV&C Current Issue


YV&C Recommended Yacht Charter Links

Moni Toplou, a Monastery with a Gun
Moni Toplou, a Monastery with a Gun

 

From "Greek Isles in the Summer" Magazine

The eastern part of Sitia in Crete is almost a deserted place but the coastal road going off east of the town is the only one in the area with traffic because it leads to the two popular sights in east Crete - the Toplou Monastery or Moni Toplou and the palm tree forest at Vai which we will be talking on another article. On the coastal road there is not much to see, until you arrive at the historic Toplou Monastery. be careful as the road is narrow and has many badly-designed bends.

The Monastery stands alone in the middle of no-where. It has been built in mid 15th century at a time when pirates and bandits of all nationalities were ravaging Crete and has withstood many attacks and occupations by invading forces. This is partly due to its strategic position. So the monks built a thick and strong 10 m high wall around the monastery complex. The wall has small windows like arrow-holes, a heavy castle gate, and murder holes for pouring out boiling oil onto the heads of attackers. There is also a cannon on the rampart of the door. The Turkish word for a canon is "top", hence the name of the monastery is "Moni Toplou" or "Monastery with  a Gun".

The main building of 800 m2 has three floors, divided into cells, for guests, kitchens, the abbot's residence and many warehouses. The bell tower has relief crowns and crosses with inscriptions dating back to 1558. The 13th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities carried out works of consolidation and restoration. In the Monastery, there is also an interesting Museum.

Despite the strong fortification, the monastery was destroyed twice in his history, once by the Knights of Malta in 1530 and later by the Turks in 1646. Its high walls have been a refuge for rebels, both under the Turkish rule and during the German occupation in World War II. There is a cave nearby the monastery that has been used as a wireless station for the resistance against the Germans. There is a steep dirt road leading to the cave about 500 meters away from the monastery towards Sitia. Most of the monastery’s heirlooms were destroyed by the Turks in 1646 but still it is one of the best preserved and richest monasteries of Crete and there are plenty of things to see in the church and museum rooms surrounding the inner courtyard between the high walls.

The monastery in general is dedicated to Panagia Theotokos and its small chapel is dedicated to the Birth of the Virgin Mary. This chapel or "katholicon" is a two-aisled church, the northern one dedicated to the Virgin, and the southern posterior one to St John the Theologian. It contains a wonderful icon known as "Great Art Thou, O Lord" that depicts sixty-one scenes from the Orthodox liturgy. This icon is the work of the famous icon painter Ioannis Kornaros and dates back to 1770. Another important thing to see is an epigraph of the 2nd century BC, engraved on a stone plaque, which comes from ancient Itanos and contains the first 80 lines of the Treaty of Magnisia signed by the Cretan cities of Itanos and Ierapytna under the arbitration of the Asia Minor city of Magnisia. This stone was functioning as the altar in the chapel of the monastery’s cemetery, but now it has been enshrined in the external wall of the chapel. Many other very interesting Byzantine icons, handwritten bibles, vestments, manuscripts and many other ecclesiastical artifacts are being displayed in the monastery museum rooms. There are also well preserved wall paintings going back to the 14th century. Today there are very few monks in the monmastery but the monastery still owns a huge part of the land which is cultivated and brings earnings for the monastery.

Some final reminder for visiting monasteries in Greece is the existence of etiquettes regarding the way you are dressed. In most monasteries no shorts are allowed, either for men and women, as well as swimming suits or "hot" mini skirts. If they think that you are not dressed decently, they will not allow you to enter the monastery, so be prepared for this. However in many monasteries there are simple clothes you can wear and visit the inside. Also in many monasteries with important icons and wall paintings taking photographs is not allowed.

 

 

 

About Vasil Kadifeli
Vasil Kadifeli is a retired computer applications development programmer and manager who has worked for some of the largest banks in the Turkish financial sector. Currently he is engaged in traveling, painting, music, and cooking, in short he is trying to enjoy his life. He has visited many of the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, and almost all parts of the Turkish Riviera, or the Turquoise Coast as it is also called. These are his favorite places to be. He is also a fanatic of Ulitzer and believes Ulitzer will be the number one content management website in the world.

In order to post a comment you need to be registered and logged in.

Register | Sign-in

Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

Subscribe to the World's Most Powerful Newsletters !
Receive Breaking Yacht Charters News as it Happens...
Yacht Charter Newsletter
Jet Charter Newsletter
 
SuperYacht Newsletter
SuperYacht Conference
Your E-Mail: 
State: 
Zip Code: 




Type the characters you see in this picture (lower case):   


YV&C Recommended Yacht Charter Links

Latest YV&C Stories
The Borneo International Yachting Challenge 2007 (BIYC) scheduled for September, which will have as its highlight a 100-nautical mile passage race from Labuan to here, is expected to attract 30 sailing teams.
Cloud Expo, Inc. announced on Thursday that Cloud Expo 2011 New York, the 8th International Cloud Computing Conference & Expo, will take place June 6-9, 2011, at the Javits Center in New York City. The International Cloud Computing Conference & Expo series is the world’s leading Cloud-...
Magnum Nautica is the first and foremost Croatia yacht charter company. It has added a luxury charter yacht, Sunseeker Manhattan 60, named ‘Rej,’ to its existing fleet of 10 luxury and charter yachts. This new addition to its fleet, with a capacity to accommodate 6 guests, is a great l...
The website, Lookflorida.com states: 'A group of Florida real estate agents have agreed to participate in the FREBS program. These agents will give you a cash stimulus at closing on your Florida real estate purchase. You could be eligible for up to $150,000' The stimulus program ...
Books are now open for Crystal Cruises' 16th annual, 110-day 2011 World Cruise. Fares for the "Grand Exotic Expedition" World Cruise aboard Crystal Serenity are now available online, along with Full World Cruise and segment itinerary details, and attractive promotional and savings info...
A JetBlue Embraer ERJ-190, registration N279JB performing flight B6-904 from Chicago O'Hare, IL to New York JFK, NY (USA) with 64 passengers and 4 crew, was on final visual approach to JFK's runway 31R descending through 2000 feet, when the crew reported they needed to abort the approa...


YV&C Recommended Yacht Charter Links