Chromonastiri

Chromonastiri in the prefecture of Rethymno is a village near Prinedes and Kapediana, approximately 10 km southeast of the city of Rethymno.

Northeast of Vrisinas at an altitude of 360 meters, Chromonastiri is one of the most important historic settlements of Rethymno, built around the 12th-13th century. Until 1299 it belonged to the Byzantine ruler George Hortatzis and later was granted to Alexios Kallergis.

For the origins of its name there is a version that refers to the coexistence of the village and the monastery of Panagia Kera (Chorio=village and Monastiri=Monastery) during the second Byzantine and the Venetian periods. Indeed, in Venetian and Ottoman documents it has been written as Choriomonastirion and Chora Monastir. Another version says that it was named so because the monastery was painted in yellow ocher or because the church had many colored icons (Chroma=color + Monastery).

Today Chromonastiri, with its 350 inhabitants, is a picturesque village with a great legacy of the Venetian fortress-like architecture from the past.

The Venetian buildings with impressive doorways are scattered in the village, while one of the main attractions is the Klodio villa situated east of the village, a mansion and the summer residence of the homonymous noble Venetian family. During the Ottoman rule the mansion served as the residence of a Turkish Aga. Today, the building houses the Military Museum of Chromonastiri displaying exhibits from different eras, such as military uniforms, weapons, medals and more. Near the museum, in the main square of the village there is another interesting for tourists sight of Chromonastiri, the Mill of Prinari. The building is likely to have been built in the early 18th century and it is an old mill, the property of Prinarakis family. The mill operated normally until 1958. Today, after renovation and restoration, it is operated as a museum and educational and informational center for the culture of olive, oil and mills.

In the wider area of the village there are two important Byzantine churches. The first is the church of Panagia Kera with frescoes dating to the 11th and 14th centuries. The second is the church of Agios Eftihios at site Metohi of Perdikis with 11th century murals that are considered the oldest in whole Crete. The parish church of the village is dedicated to Agios Georgios (Saint George), while a large feast is held in honor of Agios Panteleimonas (July 27).

The picturesque Chromonastiri, constituting a cultural institution and preserving local traditions intact, in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009 received the award of the cleanest organized traditional settlement by the Prefectural Tourism Promotion Committee of Rethymno.