Attali monastery

The Attali Monastery in Rethymno prefecture is located in Bali, close to the highway Rethymno – Heraklion, on the slopes of the hill of Agia Ipakoi (Holy Obedience) and opposite the hill Pachoumi.

The Attali Monastery or monastery of Bali dates back to the Venetian period, but the first known written testimony of its existence comes from a notary document dated from 1628, while the inscription inside the monastery mentions the 1635. All the monastery buildings had been completed until the 1646, when the region was conquered by Turks.

During the Turkish occupation of the island, it seems that some damages have been caused to the monastery, which must have been restored, according to the inscription placed over the gate that leads from the cells to Katholikon (the church) dating to 1692.

The cove of Bali was one of the main spots that the rebels used for refueling and for communication with the liberated Greece. The Turks several times tried to occupy the area, causing collateral damage to the monastery.

The monks of Attali monastery were involved in the Greek War of Independence in 1821 and it seems that the monastery was burned during that period. After the Revolution, some repair works were done, of which the most important was the construction of the wooden iconostasis.

During the great Cretan Revolt (1866-1869), the raids of the Turks upon the Attali Monastery were conducted on a regular basis. After the German occupation the monastery was deserted and, then, completely destroyed, until the restoration works had begun from 1980 onwards.

Built on a spectacular location with uninterrupted view to the Cretan sea, in an area where monasticism and asceticism have blossomed until the 1970, the Attali Monastery is a complex built on numerous levels. Near the monastery entrance, there were stables, a bit farther there was an old mill, a ceramics workshop, the baking premises, the monk cells and a Refectory, which is one of the few monastic Refectories adorned with icons. The church is not situated at the center of the Monastery, as is common practice in the monastic architecture, but on a different level, on the northeastern side of the complex. Due to frequent pirate attacks, since the Attali monastery is located near the sea, there was a heavy door that sealed the staircase leading to the temple, creating a kind of fortress within which all the basic functions of the monastery, apart from the church, were enclosed. There is also a chapel of Agios Theodosios Koinoviarchis that was built in 1996.

The Attali Monastery operates as a male monastery and it is dedicated to Agios Ioannis Prodromos (St. John the Baptist), who is celebrated on August 29.

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