Today we’re going to visit the small and beautiful monastery of Kera, then head over the mountaintop for a drive through the Lassithi Plain, where more than 13,000 windmills once dotted this beautiful landscape. We’ll end our day with a visit to a local tavern where we’ll try some local delicacies.
The Monastery of Kera is perched on a hillside, hidden behind fortified walls. I stepped through those walls into a courtyard where a small and rustic church occupies the center.
I learned that while it’s unknown when the monastery was established, most sources say that it dates back to the 14th century. It was then that an icon of the Virgin Mary was placed here, a holy place for those seeking miracles.
During the Venetian occupation of Crete, the icon was stolen and replaced in the 1700s by another icon. Today, the locals believe the newer icon holds the power to work miracles for those who come here to worship it.
Whether or not you’re seeking miracles, the Monastery of Kera is worthy of a visit that will leave you as it left me: with a feeling of peace and well-being.
After our visit to the monastery, we continued along the winding highway up into the hills on our way to the Lassithi plain. It was here that we would discover the ghosts of an earlier Crete, when swaths of white cloth danced in the wind.
The famous windmills once were a vital part of this land, which produced potatoes, grain, apples and other fruits and vegetables. This land is known as the breadbasket of Crete, which makes our next stop somewhat appropriate.
We ended our tour with a stop at a traditional Greek tavern in the village of Seli where I was able to sample Greek specialties in true Cretan style.