Some interested archaeological sites such as Knossos, Phaistos, Zakros, Malia, the Archaeological Museum of Chania and Heraklion, await summer or winter. There are also a large number of monasteries and Byzantine churches. You can also visit the old Venetian town of Chania, with its nightlife during the winter and summer. Castles and beautiful scenery will offer you a great experience and rich knowledge of the history of the island, too.
Monastery of Gonia
One kilometer west of Kolymbari, we come across the historical monastery of Gonia(Panagia Odigitria, i.e. Virgin Mary the provider of Guidance) and the Orthodox Academy of Crete. The monastery of Gonia was founded during the Venetian Domination and its roots are found in the myth of vision. The myth starts from the Temple of Diktynna Artemis Vritomartyr, the ancient goddess of West Crete. At one time while being persued by the Corsairs, the monks built a Temple dedicaded to the Assumption of Virgin Mary on a spot below the Temple of Diktynna Artemis. In the beginning of the 16th century, Saint Vlassios came to join their ascetic life. One night, while he was praying, he saw Virgin Mary in a vision and the led him to the spot where she wished to have a monastery built to her honor. This monastery started being built in 1618 and was completed in 1634.
Right next to the Monastery is the Orthodox Academy of Crete (OAC). The Academy is a utility foundation, which belongs to the See of Kissamos and Selinos. It is known wordwide for the conferences it organizes and for the various activities that it develops which aim at meditation and solution of scientific, medical, cultural and religious problems.
Saint John’s Cave
Saint John left Azogyre with the blessings of the Abbot of this great retinue and after crossing the mountains and the ravines to the north of Selinos and Kissamos, he arrived at the cave of the village Spilia(i.e. cave) and he stayed therein for approximately six months. Since, all around that place were shepherds and many farmers, he departed for Gouverneto. Still, before leaving and as he was praying he left, as a mark of his passing through, the healing holy water (by hitting his stick on the rock) which from those days until now remains a blessing to the Christians. In the 17th century and for at least one century, the Cave of the Saint was used as Nunnery. Graves, foundations of nun’s cells and a big water rank still exist even today…
The Monument Olive Tree of Vouves
The Olive Tree Museum of Vouves is ideally located next to the Monumental Olive Tree of Vouves, the oldest olive tree in the world, which is visited by approximately 20.000 people every year from all over the world. The Monumental Olive Tree of Vouves has been declared as “natural heritage monument” by decision no 603/17-2-1997of the Secretary General of the Region of Crete, due to its special ecological and historical importance. There are at least ten more monumental olive trees in this area, namely the same number of trees as in the whole of Crete. This fact testifies to the long-standing relationship between the residents of this area with the olive tree that dates back to antiquity.
The Temple of Michael the Archangel with mosaics, murals and graves in the interior and exterior area. It is a paleochristian Temple, built during the reign of Emperor Justinian (482-565). It has a common architectural type with the temples in Ravenna Italy and also in Syria. It became the seat of the Episkopi of Kissamos in 1818 when Melchisedek was bishop. The Turks hanged the latter together with the teacher and deacon Kallinikos in 1821. Excavations are currently effected in order to explore the area even more.
Temple of Saint John
It’s located in Prodromos of Deliana village. It is built in 1260 at the base of a temple that was already there. Its wallpapers were drawed in the first quarter of 14th century from the painter Theodoros Veneris.
Menies (Ancient Diktynna)
On th eend point of the Cape of Spatha (Menies) are maintained even today, the ruins of the Temple of Diktynna and of a temple of the era of Andrianos (524-519BC). In the valley west of the Temple, there are ruins of buildings and of Roman aquaduct. Diktynna was a very ancient Cretan Goddess. Pilgrims with offerings arrived at her temple from all places of Hellas throughout the Roman and Hellenistic period. They walked to this places barefoot according to the tradition, in order to have direct contact with the earth and nature wich has worshiped in the face of the Goddess, as she was the Goddess of hunting.