The Vossakos Monastery
Vossakos monastery (Μονή Βωσάκου, Moni Vosákou) is located approx. 20 km east of our holiday house, if you drive along the old road towards Heraklion. The monastery is situated in an isolated valley in the Kouloukonas or Talea Mountains (Talea Ori). The road there and the beautiful surroundings in itself is a great nature experience. The name Vossakos is derived from the Greek word for 'cattle pen'.
Vossakos monastery dates from the 17th Century and was in use in an unbroken period until 1960, when the last monk died. It played a major role in the local area and owned both land and buildings in the surrounding villages such as Sisses, Garazo and Dafnedes.
Like several other monasteries in Crete Vossakos played a crucial role in the Cretan revolts against the Turks in the 1800's. Among others during the uprising in 1821 and again in 1866. This led to the Turks destroying part of the buildings that were rebuilt during the 19th century. Thus, the present church is built in 1855 as a replacement for a building from the 14th or 15 century. The church is consecrated to the Holy Cross (Timios Stavros), celebrated the 14th of September each year.
After being abandoned for nearly 40 years, the monastery was again taken into use in 1998. Major restoration works were launched and today about two-thirds of the buildings have been restored to their former glory. But the work is still going on. Today the monastery is occupied by an abbot, and one or two monks and a variable number of lay brothers, who help to restore the old buildings.
The monastery is a three-winged building around a central courtyard, where the church is located. Beside the church there is a fountain from 1673. The eastern wing of the monastery is dominated by the beautiful gateway from the 1669.