Elafonisi beach Route 12
Very beutiful the south-western point of Crete
Monastery of Panagia Chrisoskalitissa
The monastery of Panagia Chrisoskalitissa is located 72km south of Chania, very close to the magnificent lagoon of Elafonissi. It operates as a nunnery and reminds of a fortress, perched on a 35m high rock with boundless sea views.
The name of the monastery means Our Lady Gold-stepped in Greek. This is taken after one step out of 98, which, according to tradition, was gold. It is said that only those who really believe in god can still see it. However, another version says that the golden stair was sold by the Patriarchate to solve the economic problems of the monastery during the Turkish Era.
The temple has two aisles dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the Holy Trinity. The exact date of the establishment of the monastery is unknown. Near Chrisoskalitissa there was the monastery of St. Nicholas, which operated during the Turkish Period. On the beach, next to the monastery, a small fishing village of the Middle Minoan period has been found.
Elafonisi is located 76km west of Chania and 5km south of Chrysoskalitisa Monastery, in the south-western most point of Crete. Elafonisi is an oblong, which often "breaks" in two parts by water giving the impression of being a separate island. Elafonisi is a Natura 2000 protected area. The island is full of dunes with sand lilies and jupiners (like-cedars trees). The endangered turtles careta careta and several rare animals nest on the island and it is strictly forbidden to remove any plants, animals and sand from the area.