Sights - Rethymnon Prefecture

The Amari Valley - Asomaton Monastery


The largest monastery building in the valley is the now closed Asomaton Monastery, situated a little outside the village of Nefs Amari. The plain of Asomathianos Kambos is named after the monastery.


According to tradition the monastery was founded at the end of the second Byzantine Period (961-1204) by a noblewoman from Iraklion who wanted to live in seclusion. She made fruitless efforts to find a suitable place in the mountains, until an old monk from the nearby Kaloeidaina Monastery (near Ano Meros) suggested that she settled in the valley in stead. Here she founded the monastery, dedicating it to the Archangel Michael.


Asomaton Monastery had its great period in the 17th century, receiving many donations from the local population. During the Turkish period it was the cultural centre of the area and founded among other things a middle school in the village of Monastiraki (south of the monastery). The school operated until the Cretan autonomy (1898-1913).


But the numerous muslim Cretans in the neighbouring villages created problems for the monastery and it was often looted or destroyed. A natural catastrophe hit the monastery as well, when a heavy earthquake in 1810 caused big parts of the buildings to collapse.


In 1930 the monastery was changed into an agricultural school, but this has been closed down too.




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