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Rethymnon Prefecture Continued Page Fifteen

Asomatoi MonasteryA short way down the main road is Moni Asomaton, a wealthy monastery (left) where the Abbot ran a neighborhood school during the Ottoman rule, and,which was, like the Moni Arkadhi, a monastery that gave strong support to the freedom struggle in Crete. Since 1931 an agricultural school, it combines modern farming equipment with old Venetian buildings. From here the road forks, and the right one will take you to Monastiraki and to the village of Amari.

A Minoan settlement was found at Monastiraki by University of Crete excavations since 1980. The ruins of the Minoan settlementThe site (right)can be viewed as you enter the village, This was probably a small palace center where some thick-walled rooms and storerooms were found, the latter containing pithoi (big clay storage pots) and Kamares-style pottery, as well as clay seals Near Lambiotes village is the chapel of the Panayia , with late 14th century frescoes.

Amari Venetian clock towerBoth Monastiraki village and the next, Opsigias, are attractive, but Amari is exceptionally beautiful, with a lazy, old-world feel to it, such that when here, it is hard to believe that you less than an hour's drive from the city of Rethymnon with its tourist-choked summer streets. It this general ambience that is the chief highlight of Amari. There is a Venetian the 'oldest' frescos in Creteclock tower (photo left) visible from the 'stenakia' (the narrow lanes), and with some wandering you'll stumble upon it and can go in, as they don't lock the place.

Outside of Amari , the church of Aghia Anna, has some 13th century frescoes (right), possibly the oldest in Crete. Continuing south on the main road, or on the back road that parallels it from Amari, you come to the village of Vizari, near the site of a large Roman village with one of Crete's best preserved Early Christian basilicas Dated to the 8th century, the church has a tiled floor. The village was destroyed by Arabs. The large present day village of Fourfouras is to the south , with a fountain at its entrance. This town is one of the starting places for hikes in the Psiloritis/Ida range. Windy roads also head towards the western side of the valley (the hill of Samitos in between ), and it is possible to make a circle around and back to where you started at Thronos, or to points farther south.

Rethymno Prefecture Continued: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20