An inestimable treasure of churches, rural chapels, monasteries and ecclesiastical museums is scattered throughout the territory of Kissamos. Following the new Chania-Kissamos national road, visitors arrive in the quaint town of Kolymbari; this is where the historic Monastery of Panagia Gonias and the Orthodox Academy of Crete are situated.

Travelling south into the hinterland, the route takes us through the villages of Marathokefal and Spelia and then we arrive at Episcope, where the church of Archangel Michael stands.

Further south there is the picturesque village of Deliana, where one can visit the church of St. John the Baptist and then, turning west, there is the village of Voulgaro, with the church of Saint Barbara.

Travelling along the lovely valley of Topolia, the road leads to Koutsomatado, where visitors can see the Cave of God’s Wisdom (Sophia) and then, further south, the village of Elos with the church of St. John the Divine (Theologos).

Further south, at the village of Kefali, visitors can see the churches of Christ the Saviour (Soter) and of Saint Athanassius, while before exiting the valley, in the village of Vathi, there is the church of St. George.

At the valley exit, in a wonderful setting on rocky heights, stands the Monastery of Chrysoskalitissa. Further south one can visit Elafonisi, one of the most impressive landscapes of the island.

Elafonisi is a small low islet, which is, in fact, a projection of the land into the sea, because the sea separating them is scarcely 2-3 ft. deep, which allows one to walk there. The sand dunes that cover most of the islet combined with its beautiful beaches make for a very interesting ecosystem.


The church of St. George (Agios Georgios) (Vathi)

A one-hall church covered with arches, characterised by blind side coving. According to the inscription inside, its murals date to 1284 and are typical examples illustrating folk style art of the time.


The church of St. Athanassius (Agios Athanassios) (Kefali)

A one-hall church covered with arches; the inscription with the year 1393 found in its interior informs us that the ktetor (donor) was Anna Moskanna.


The church of the Saviour’s Transfiguration (Metamorphosis tou Sotiros) (Kefali)

This is a 14th century church, the murals of which date back to 1320, as indicated by an inscription. The particularity of the church is that, besides murals, it also bears numerous coats of arms, names and dates on all its walls.


The church of St. John the Divine (Agios Ioannis Theologos) (Elos)

At the centre of the village of Elos there is the one-hall church covered with arches, dedicated to St. John the Divine (Theologos), with important mural decoration. The paintings are attributed to Ioannis Pagomenos, a well-known painter from western Crete.


The Cave of God’s Wisdom (Spileo tis Theou Sophias) (Koutsomatado – Topolia)

The small church of St. Sophia is situated in the cave of the same name, on the west bank of Topolia Gorge, and comprises two halls on two levels.


The church of Saint Barbara (Agia Varvara) (Boulgaro)

In the village of Boulgaro there is the ruined church of Saint Barbara, which probably used to be the Catholicon church of a monastery. It is a cruciform, ‘cross-in-a-square’ church with a cupola and a narthex that was added at a later age, which underwent various architectural changes during the period of Venetian. The church […]


The Church of Archangel Michael (Michail Archangelos) (Episcope)

This early Christian church dating from the second half of the 6th century, situated outside Kato Episcope, near Kissamos, is one of the most important monuments of Crete from the early Christian period. The church is of great value, from both an architectural and an icon painting perspective. Architecturally, it is a periaptic (pericentric) rectangular […]


Chrysoskalitissa (of the Golden step) Monastery

The Monastery of Chrysoskalitissa is built on a rock at the south-west end of Crete. The church of the monastery is dedicated to Mother Mary and the Holy Trinity and its feast is held on August 15 (Dekapendavgoustos). The Monastery was built during Venetian rule on the site of St. Nicholas monastery and, according to […]


Gonia Monastery

It is situated near the village of Kolymbari and it is one of the best preserved monasteries on Crete; it looks like a fort and has a three apse Catholicon church and two chapels. The initial donor (ktetor) was Brother Vlassios, a monk from Cyprus, who, according to tradition, started building the Monastery on a […]