The famous monastery of Prevelis, overlooking the Libyan Sea, is composed off two building complexes, the ‘Back’ (Piso) and the ‘Low’ (Kato) Monastery, with a distance of 2 kilometres between them.
There are numerous legends associated with the establishment of the monastery, dating back to the Venetian rule period, like most Cretan monasteries. At that time there were two major monasteries and numerous smaller ones active, which had to unite and make up the large Monastery of Prevelis.
The Low Monastery (Kato Monastiri) is the one encountered first when arriving from Rethymnon and it is dedicated to St. John the Baptist. Today it is deserted.
The Back Monastery (Piso Monastiri) is dedicated to St. John the Divine (Theologos).
The catholicon (main church) is situated in the centre of the small cloisters and around it are the monks’ cells, literally hidden in the rocks, due to the gradient. As the flat land was hardly enough, the south side was used, where a retaining wall was built and a second level of buildings was constructed, lower than the first one.
Among the most precious heirlooms of the monastery is an icon of Christ ‘King of the Kings’, a work by icon painter Michael Prevelis (1750) and the icon of St. John the Divine (Theologos) (13th century), flanked by an eagle, the Evangelist’s emblem, on the left and the Holy Spirit on the right.