Moderate walk, through both easy to follow walled pathways and more difficult to follow narrow shepherd and sheep trails although not many signposts to help guide you. Typical hill walk which takes you through lots of thorny bushes and scrubs, so proper trousers and shoes are required.
Park near the building viewpoint and walk back towards the village
Turn right by the road sign and follow the footpath
Keep on main track
follow track to the left
Turn right onto footpath between two rock walls
Follow path, a bit rocky underfoot, two large diameter black pipes also follow this track.
Gate to pass through and close
View of pathway
Footpath leads onto roadway, take the right of roadway and follow
keep between walls
stay by wall
Stay by wall
Follow narrow path going up
The path a bit narrow and windy that climbs steadily.
A typical mud trail made by walkers and livestock.
Take path to right of wall
Fence to your right
Follow fence to where three fences meet and go through gate there
Go through fence and follow easier footpath
Trail leads onto wide pathway
Keep straight ahead on wide pathway/road
Trail leads onto concrete roadway
Follow concrete pathway
Looking back on pathway
Junction where you take the left trail
Water stop at first monastery, Timos Stavros in Kardamoutsa
The male monastery of Timios Stavros (Holy Cross) in Kardamoutsa is built very close to the village Karydi, at an altitude of 540m. Although the surrounding area is dry and rocky, there grow many trees, especially hollies. At the entrance of the monastery stands a huge oak tree, where according to tradition, whoever cuts off a branch will lose their hand.
The temple of the Holy Cross is quite large and is definitely worth a visit, as the monastery is considered a jewel of Christian architecture. Around you will see the impressive, but ruined, complex of the monastery that was built like a fortress in several stages (from 15th to 18th century). The monastery was at it's height during the Venetian Era but nowadays only one monk lives here.
Around the main church is remnants of old monk cells, old graves, tanks, warehouses, a dining room, a stable, an olive oil mill,and a creamery.
The monastery is celebrated on September 14, when people stay in a guesthouse in the restored building .
The monastery is continually being renovated
Path to second Monastry
Keep to pathway between walls, slightly over marked by blue and red circles
Continue on following signs
Sight on second Monastery, stopped for lunch here
The Monastery of the Holy Trinity in Areti is located next to the village Karydi (close to Neapolis) in a dry and isolated area of Mirabello province. Along with the neighboring Kardamoutsa monastery, they were the most important monasteries of the area (This area has the most monasteries than any other place in Crete). Indeed, it once managed to buy seven other monasteries in the region. Ruined for many years, it was lately restored and is currently inhabited by monks.
The monastery was founded at the end of the 16th century by Markos Papadopoulos, who also bequeathed it great wealth, enough for the upkeep of twelve monks. Notary documents confirm its peak during the 17th century as they mention the multitude of its transactions with other monasteries or individuals. Despite its destruction by the Turks during the revolution of 1821, it continued to function, renovating a part of its buildings towards the end of the 19th century, until 1930 when it was deemed soluble. The monastery was reconstituted in 1955-56, while during the 1990s it was restored in its entirety. The building complex develops at a gradient because of the sloping ground and forms around two courtyards. Around the smaller of the two, the south one, where the main entrance is found, are workshops and ancillary spaces, such as the olive-press, the wine treadle and the stables. In the central courtyard is the large catholicon dedicated to the Holy Trinity, renovated in 1880-81, and the chapel of St. Lazarus, possibly of a funerary nature. Around the catholicon in two-storey buildings are the cells and the remaining main spaces of the monastery. In the catholicon are preserved noteworthy icons of the Cretan School, of the 17th century, with those of the Holy Trinity, the Lady of the Angels and Pentecost, which were all painted by the hand of the same anonymous painter, being the most important.
From afar, the monastery resembles a fortress, as a part of it is fortified, being one of the five the most important fortified monasteries in Crete. There is a gallery at its entrance, which leads to large vaulted storage rooms, the barn and the main gate of the courtyard. In the main courtyard there are tanks and several buildings. There are cells, kitchen, bakery, metalwork room and other rooms. Outside the closed enclosure there are two large open tanks, an olive oil mill and a creamery, while you will see 12 ancient cypress trees that symbolize the 12 Apostles.
The monastery main church is located in the center of the enclosure and is a single-spaced barrel-vaulted church with a pointed archly doorway. The bell bears the inscription 1618. There is a second Venetian temple, dedicated to Saint Lazarus that probably had a funerary character. Finally, the small chapel of St. Makarios of Egypt was founded lately, in a small room.
Despite the records showing that Markos Papadopoulos founded the Monastery there is still another legend about how the Areti Monasterywas built.
During the Venetian Occupation of Crete, a local worked at one of the several Venetian ports of Crete and developed close relations to some Venetians. One of them invited him to Venice for the wedding of his daughter. There, he heard some guests discussing about his homeland, Crete. The Venetians being unaware that the Greek guy could speak Italian, they planned to go at the current position of Areti Monastery and dig up a treasure that was hidden there. They also said that whoever would first pull the cauldron lid, in which the treasure was hidden, would die. The Cretan who heard it all, visited the area and searched for the cauldron. Indeed, he found the pot and tied the lid of the cauldron to a donkey, thus when the animal walked, the pot was uncovered and the poor animal died! So, the guy became very wealthy and, being grateful to god for his good luck, he built the monastery of Areti in this rocky and barren place.
Continue on after site to the left of steps
Rough trail to follow
keep on dirt track
By tree turn left on same track
Past trees and over small rock wall
View to abandoned village and the road that you are aiming for
This ruined village was once homes to the workers that originally grew crops and maintained ivestock for the monasterys until the local supermarkets took over and they were abandoned.
Turn right by pens down to road
At the road turn right and follow
Keep on road
Off road and follow trail on the right
Just after a rough tracked cross roads turn off to the right and follow a dirt track going towards the trees.
A little further where the wall has an opening, go over the top and follow trail between the walls
Combination of dirt and rock trail
Turn right on roadway
Tarmac road turn left
At tree pathway
At pathway by tree turn right and follow rough trail