Holy Monastery of Faneromeni at Ierapetra
The monastery, which celebrates on the Dormition of the Theotokos, is located on the north side of Mount Stavros, a steep elevation west of the archaeological area of Gournies. Its foundation date is unknown even though non-extant sources mention it already at the end of the 13th century, connecting it with the revolution of the Kallergi against the Venetians in 1299. The monastery is structured incrementally on two main levels. On the lower level, around an elongated courtyard with entrance from the west, are relatively simple two-and three-storey buildings which received a radical restoration in the second half of the 19th century. The cavernous church dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos and the Zoodochos Pigi [the Life-giving Spring] is located on the second, highest level. The church, which is the oldest surviving part of the monastery, dates to the period of the late Venetian occupation. It consists of the narthex, the main church, roofed with a pointed vault, as well as the area of the agiasma [holy water]. Despite the interpolations received by the complex during the 20th century, its fortified and defensive character, which was structured in the 18th and 19th centuries, is evident not only from the solid ordering of the buildings but also from the very small windows and the three semi-circular watchtowers which are located on the north side. The monastery, built in a particularly advantageous location that offers a panoramic view of the bay of Merambellou, is one of the most important pilgrimage sites of eastern Crete with hundreds of pilgrims arriving and spending the fifteen days of the fast there prior to the celebration of the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos on August 15.