The Monasteri of Odigitria lies on the western side of the Asterousia mountain range and dominates the wilderness of the surrounding district,where plenty of chappels and hermitage are located (Agiofarago, Martsalo, Agii Eftichiani etc.).
The Monasteri has the form of a fortress.It includes various buildings surrounded and protected by a high wall.The two-aisled temple is located in the middle of the precinct.The south aisle is dedicated to the Assumption of Mary Mother of Jesus Christ,while the north one to the Apostles Peter and Paul.In early ages there used to be one more aisle on the south side of the temple dedicated to Saint Fanourios.Nowadays,one can only see the foundation of the structure and the remains of an ornate Venetian tomb with a coat of arms and the date 1602.
The monk cells and various other auxiliary buildings are found around the main temple.On the north-eastern side there is the Museum of the Monasteri,which includes the old oil mill(Fabrika),a wood oven,as well as a plentyfull of old tools and every day objects.
The north-western side of the precinct is occupied by the fortress tower known as the Ksopateras’ Tower.This is where the monks would flee in case of enemy raid to protect themselves.In 1828,during a fight against the Turks,monk Ioasaf(Ksopateras)was killed there and the Tower was named after him since then.
The Monasteri was established during the first millenium AD.At that time the Asterousia mountain range,also known as the Holly Mountain of Crete,was the most important monastic centre on the island.It was destroyed by Saracen conquerors during the period of Arab rule and then restored and built in today’s form in the 14th century AD.Old pictures and wall paintings are a proof of that.
According to an old tradition,the restoration was the work of a rich woman from the village of Pobia.She was quided by the hand of our Holly Mother of God.The name Odigitria(the one who quides you)origins from this fact.
Kali Limenes is located in the south of the Monasteri.This is the place where Apostle Paul first came to Crete in 60 AD and talked to the locals about Jesus Christ.
Agiofarago,which lies western from Kali Limenes,held the largest and greatest ascetic centre on Crete.A multitude of hermits lived in the caves of the gorge and the extensive area and taught us the Mental Prayer(Noera Prosefchi).The only known of the many who lived there through the ages is Saint Arsenios of Agiofarago(13th century AD).