Monastery of Toplou

The monastery Toplou or Akrotiriani Monastery is the most important fortified monastery complex in northeastern Crete, with an imposing bell tower decorated with Renaissance-type, which rises on the west side, above the main gate.

The impressive monastery complex formed gradually from the 14th century and, as confirmed by archival sources from the 15th century onwards, gradually evolved into a robust single with great spiritual radiance. The monastery built around an inner courtyard on three floors with battlements, covering an area of about 800 square meters.

Its construction took place in the last years of Venetian rule, where it was obvious the upcoming Turkish threat. Right above the gate there is the “katachytra or killer hole”, which threw the pirates and hackers trying to break the door hot oil or pencil.

The monastery flourished in the 14th and 15th century, judging by the large number of important Byzantine icons of the period, reflecting faithfully the evolution of Constantinople painting gradually penetrated in Crete since the fall of the city and beyond.

During the Ottoman rule the monastery was often subject to looting and slaughter by the Turks, but managed to maintain and help the enslaved Greeks. Indeed, since 1856 has worked in the areas of organized school that taught the sacred letters with the responsibility of elders. There he attended the children of the people of the region.