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Chromonastiri – 2 Byzantine Churches – War Museum
The Military Museum of War Struggles, where the visitor has the opportunity to explore the Renaissance fortification art and the history of the revolutions and struggles of the people of Crete.
Monasteries . Churches . Saints Rethymnon area Towns . Villages

Chromonastiri – 2 Byzantine Churches – War Museum

Chromonastiri traditional settlement

Chromonastiri is located 10 kilometers southeast of Rethymnon. It was built in the 12th – 13th century and has been characterized as a traditional settlement. Many of the village’s buildings belong to the Venetian period.

At the end of the village’s main road lies the impressive Villa Claudio, a Venetian mansion built in 1610. It was a mansion and summer residence of the Venetian family Claudio. During the Ottoman domination the palace was used as a residence of the Turkish Aga. Today it has been renovated and houses a museum military collection.

The area of Chromonastiri has a cultural history dating back to the Minoan era, as evidenced by the Sanctuary at the top of Mount Vrissina, where the church of the Holy Spirit is today.

Chromonastiri has attractions to reveal

Prinari’s Mill- the old olive mill

At the central square of Chromonastiri you will find the old olive oil mill. Today it is completely renovated exposing all its old equipment. It has been fully restored to accommodate an information center relating to the history of the olive tree cultivation. There are also some more showrooms with objects from last century’s rural life of the villagers. This small museum has been equipped with the loving care of the mill’s owner and the Cultural Society of Chromonastiri.

Byzantine church Panagia Kera

The temple was built in the 11th century. It is a cruciform Byzantine church with a cylindrical dome and narthex that is higher than its central part. That makes it rare in Crete. In the 15th century the St. Anna chapel was added to the building. Only a few frescoes have survived from the 11th century, such as the large icon of the Virgin Mary on the arch of the sanctuary. Most frescoes are from the 14th century with the one of Agia Anna being the most impressive due to its size.
Location: The monument lies to the south of Chromonastiri after  the War Museum, be advised by the attached google map.

Byzantine church Agios Eftichios

This is an 11th century Byzantine church, as its murals testify. It was originally a single-aisled cruciform temple, but received various additions over time, resulting in four smaller rooms around its central aisle at present. Agios Eftichios is the only church on Crete with five spaces.

“The church was built on the site of an earlier building of uncertain use, dated to the late 6th – early 7th century A.D., as pottery finds testify. Typologically, the church belongs to a rare variation of the compressed eight–style cross-insquare church with dome. The building, in its current form was probably constructed in the 11th century. To the same period is dated the remaining mural decoration in the apse, which is typical of the current provincial byzantine painting. During the Οttoman Οccupation, in the 18th century, the church was converted to a residence.”   Source: Ministry of Culture and Sports / 28th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities
Location:  The monument lies before the village to the left, a small dust road leads through olive groves to the church, be advised by the attached google map.

War Museum in Villa Claudio

Chromonastiri – 2 Byzantine Churches – War MuseumIn 1997 the community of Chromonastiri decided to offer the Venetian Renaissance building Villa Claudio to HAGS/ NATIONAL DEFENCE FUND in order to have it reconstructed with own funds and create a War Museum in its premises. In January 2010, the Chief HAGS approved the organization and operation of the War Museum with unexploited museum material in storage and exhibits kindly offered by other sources. The museum was inaugurated on 21 May 2010.
The visitor has the opportunity to explore the Renaissance fortification art and the history of the revolutions and struggles of the people of Crete.
Directly before the entrance to the museum 2 aircrafts of the Hellenic Army are on display, a Cessna U-17A Skywagon ES309 General aviation six-seat, single engined aircraft and a Bell UH-1H Iroquois ES634 Helicopter.

Chromonastiri – Useful information (updated April 2019)

Prinari’s Mill opening times: Monday to Saturday 10:00-16:00 hrs. Entrance fee:

Villa Claudio – War Museum opening times: during all the year Mondays closed, Tuesday to Friday 09:00-15:00 hrs, Saturdays closed for single visits, though group tours are possible by prior arrangement with the museum’s secretary  28310-75135. Sundays 10.00 – 14.00 hrs.

Entrance fee: 3 €  Tel.: +30 28310 75135

Recommendation: on your way to Chromonastiri, you will see the Gorge of Mills to your left side. It is a 2 hours walk go/return to your car. There is also the possibility to visit the gorge or/and Chromonastiri with the Hop on-Hop off Little Train starting from Rethymnon.

Read more about Rethymnon in Rethymnon – ideal base for exploring the island

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