About the Monastery That Did Not Surrender to the TurksThe Moni Arkadiou Monastery was established during the Venetian reign on the island. Its facade is built in the Baroque style and contains quite interesting artwork. It is located approximately 25 kilometers south of Rethymno.
The importance of the monastery is mainly historical. In 1866 Greek rebels were barricaded here, trying to expel the Ottomans from Crete.
This was at the end of the failed revolt. The monastery served as a fortress where 150 Greek rebels and their families barricaded themselves. When the rebels, headed by their leader Abbott Gabriel, saw the Turks succeed in conquering the monastery and began to slaughter them and their families, they preferred to blow up the building and sacrifice themselves rather than fall into the hands of the besieging the monastery.
Since then, the monastery has been a Greek symbol of heroism and freedom. Though the rebellion against the Ottomans failed, years later the island of Crete was liberated and became once more a part of Greece.
The gunpowder warehouse on the northern side of the monastery complex is worth a visit. This was where the the heroic explosion of the rebels took place. There is also a small museum where you can see memorabilia from the historical event, such as clothes with the blood of the victims is still visible.
In addition to its history, the monastery is a nice and well-kept area that will interest visitors not keen on church sightseeing. However a visit to the impressive church from 158 in the courtyard of the monastery is still very enjoyable.