Built in the 5th century, it is famous for the events of November 9th 1866. At the time, Crete had been under Turkish occupation for the past 200 years. On that day, in Moni Arkadi, the uprising that would eventually lead to Crete’s liberation began. As the Turks began to storm the monastery, the Cretans inside went to their arsenal, a room filled with gunpowder.
As soon as the Turkish soldiers breached the monastery
walls, the monk Konstantinos Giaboudakis shot the powder, which ignited and
exploded, killing all the Cretans and most of the Turks. It’s thought that 1000
died, making this event one of the biggest mass-suicides in history. The act
itself bought Crete to prominence on world headlines, and the big powers forced
the Turks to leave Crete in 1898. Nowadays, the 9th of November is an important
holiday to remember these events at Moni Arkadi.
There’s an average restaurant next to the large car park in front of the monastery. Four buses come here daily from Rethymno