Halepa Monastery

Agro tourism - Religious tourism
The monastery of Christ the Savior of Halepa is built on a high hill near the villages Tsahiana and Veni, 46km east of Rethymno. The views to the valley of Mylopotamos from there are panoramic. While before 2000 the monastery was a set of ruins, today the restored monastery operates normally and is one of the most beautiful monasteries in Crete.The area around the monastery is full of vineyards and olive trees, and in some places there are forests of oaks. The exact date of its founding is unknown, but certainly this is one of the oldest surviving monasteries in Crete and its foundation goes back in the Venetian period.The main church is a two-aisled basilica without dome, dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Saviour and the birth of Christ. One of the monastery attractions is the old relief fountain.300m outside the monastery there is the church of Agia Marina with old frescoes. The church bears the coat of arms of the family Kallergis, one of the most important families of the Venetian period, implying that the region was one of their fiefdoms. Kallergis family was so powerful that they had received special privileges from the Venetians, totally unknown to the other Cretans. In the past, Chalepa monastery operated as a nunnery at this location, before moving to its present location in 1673.Because of its strategic location and its strong economic autonomy, Halepa monastery was the center of several battles during the Ottoman period.