Agia Triada Tzagarolon & Chania (4 hrs)
One of the most beautiful monasteries on the island of Crete plus the old-world charm of Chania.
A NOTE ABOUT DRIVING TIMES
60-75 min in total.
Even if you are not interested in places of religious significance, the monastery of Agia Triada Tzagarolon is worth a visit. Not only is it one of the most important monastic complexes of the late Venetian period in Crete, it is also very beautiful.
You’ll have 30 minutes at the monastery and about 2.5 hours to explore Chania.
DETAILS: AGIA TRIADA TZAGAROLON & CHANIA from Chania/Souda
Agia Triada Tzagarolon
The monastery of Agia Triada Tzagarolon sits on the scenic Akrotiri peninsula of Crete, not far from the port of Souda and the town of Chania.
After driving through the countryside dotted with olive groves and cypress trees you’ll be greeted by the somewhat austere exterior of the monastery. Inside, however, a tranquil splendour unfolds.
The complex combines Byzantine tradition with elements of western architecture. The main church, dedicated to the Agia Triada (Holy Trinity), is a fine example of Cretan Renaissance architecture.
The monastery owes its existence to two brothers, Leremias and Lavrentios, of the inflential Venetian-Cretan Zangaroli (Tzagarolos) family of the area. It was Leremias who initiated the project in the early 17th Century, his designs influenced by the legendary 16th-century Italian architect Sebastiano Serlio. Sadly, Leremias died while construction was still in progress. Lavrentios stepped in to oversee the project, which came to a halt in 1645 with the Turkish invasion of Greece.
The outbreak of the Greek War of Independence in 1821 caused the monks to flee. The monastery was looted by the Turks and many historical relics and manuscripts were lost. Finally in 1834, almost 200 years after it’s initiation, work was begun to restore and complete the complex. A small collection of icons and heirlooms that have survived the centuries and the catastrophes attests to the monastery’s former ecclesiastical riches.
If products from the earth are more of interest than history or architecture you’ll want to peruse the shop where you can purchase the monastery’s excellent wine, olive oil, honey, vinegar, olive oil soap, and tsikoudia (or raki, basically super-distilled Greek moonshine, like grappa in Italy).
With a history going back over 4,000 years to the Minoans, Chania is a place of multi-layered cultural influences, most notably marked by the Venetian and Turkish occupations. With its pretty cobblestone streets, candy-coloured buildings, charming old churches, and scenic harbour it is arguably the most picturesque city on the island of Crete.
If you want to just stroll, eat and shop, Chania is perfect. There are loads of boutiques selling clothing, shoes, leather goods, ceramics, and interesting local products. Welcoming patios where you can relax with a beverage or enjoy a bite to eat are everywhere.
If you care to delve into the history of Chania there are a number of good museums, with the Marittime Museum (closed Mondays) at the top of the list. The architectural museum (closed Tuesdays) is also quite good (but if you are going to Heraklion you will want to save your ancient history mission for the archeological museum there).
Chania’s lovely Venetian harbour is particularly lively, and a great place to have lunch on a sunny terrace. You can walk out to the lighthouse, designed by an Egyptian architect and erected in 1839. Take a peek into the small but elegant mosque of the Janissaries, the oldest Ottoman building in Crete dating back to 1645 when the Turks captured Chania, now used for art exhibitions.
A 2-hour walking tour with a private guide is a nice idea if you love hearing the stories of a place, and we can arrange this for you.
AGIA TRIADA TZAGAROLON & CHANIA from Chania/Souda
DURATION: 4 hrs
OTHER COSTS & NOTES
Entrance fee for Agia Triada, 3 Euro pp, to be paid in cash at the time of entry.
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