Monastery of Agia Triada

The Trinity Monastery, founded in 1612, is particularly beautiful and photogenic on the edge of an extremely fertile plain full of vineyards and olive groves. Many interesting icons hang in the church, and you can buy many good culinary souvenirs in the monastery's cellar.

Even the approach road to the monastery announces something special to the visitor: a long cypress avenue. The convent then radiates prosperity through its three-storey, multi-fenestrated facade with a bell tower built in 1864 above the richly decorated Renaissance portal.

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Passing the western end of the runway of Chania Airport, follow the signs to the monastery of Agia Triada, also called Tzangarolou after the Venetian founding family. Today it is one of the most economically active on the island, distilling raki, producing its own wines and olive oil, and is also successful in export.

The Renaissance fa├žade of the monastery church dates back to the year of its foundation in 1631. The Turks burnt down the convent in 1821, but it was rebuilt by 1830. Inside the church, many beautiful, large-format icons await you. Down the left side of the monastery, accessible through a separate entrance from the car park, you can visit the wine cellar and buy monastery products. The raki distillery and the wine bottling plant are in a building right next door.

The richly carved iconostasis in the monastery church has some extraordinarily narrative icons. The icon of the prophet Iliad (2nd left of the centre door), for example, tells of his life in small side scenes and shows, for example, at the top right, how he ascended to heaven drawn by a steed of fire. The icon of John the Baptist (2nd right of the centre door) shows the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River and the beheading of the Baptist in side scenes.

On each of the walls of the longitudinal nave, a particularly large icon catches the eye. The theme of the one on the left is Jesus' birth, the one on the right is Christ's descent into hell. Try to understand the icons:

The birth does not take place in a stable, but in a dark cave. The newborn child does not lie in a manger, but on a kind of altar. This says two things: through the birth of this baby, the darkness of death is overcome. And whoever, as a believer, receives Christ's body and bread at the altar during Holy Communion, will share in eternal life. Two secondary scenes address doubters. The fact that the child is washed after birth shows that he came into the world naturally as a human being - God really became human here. The fact that Joseph is sitting extremely pensively in a corner of the picture in front of a shepherd expresses that he really is not the father - he is perhaps doubting the story that his wife Mary told him.

Christ's descent into hell hangs exactly opposite the icon of the Nativity. It shows, as it were, the redemption of what was promised by Jesus' birth. Christ descended into the underworld immediately after his resurrection to raise the dead to eternal life. Hades, the guardian of the underworld, did not let him in voluntarily. That is why Christ is standing on door leaves superimposed in the shape of a cross. The nails and fittings lying around prove this: He stormed into the underworld by force. Representing the waiting humanity, he is the first to pull Adam on the left and Eve on the right out of their sarcophagi.


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