Route from the Monastery Ayios Georgios Vrachasiotis to the forest of Akilakes in the mountains above Malia.The old monastery of Ayios Georgios Vrahassotis is located in a really wonderful and forest location, Four kilometres beyond Vrahassi as well as Five kilometres within the national highway Heraklion – Ayios Nikolaos. However the asphalt road works remain awaiting, the off-road route is usually in a very excellent condition as well as the way is perfect for wandering.
On the subsequent mountain route where you could march on foot or drive by jeep or quad bike, you can reach the Akilakes Forest with amazing views above Malia and the sea.
In 1540, the north section of today’s Agios Georgios church was constructed by Gedeon, the superior of the priests, over the remains of the earlier destroyed church (section of which can be identified these days). The southern section of Agios Dimitrios church was constructed in 1558. From that time on, monks settled down and the monastery began to grow.
A couple of centuries later, through the times of the Turkish occupation a number of dramatic incidents occur in the monastery. As usually took place the time of the Daskalogiannis revolution (1770), around Campi, further up from the monastery some Turkish messengers raped the sister of Gabriel, who was the superior of the monastery at that time. Subsequently on that day, caused by heavy rainstorms these people chosen to commit overnight at the monastery. Superior Gabriel, who knew in the meantime of his sister’s sexual assault, initially greeted the visitors and lead them to the cheese basements to punish them. Generally based on folklore, the superior, in an effort to take revenge for his sister’s rape, caught them along with the support of other monk’s and boiled all of them in hot cheese.
Afterwards, in his effort to fade any indications of his activities and get rid of the bodies, he threw them in a large carafe on Kolokyntha mountain.
Superior Gabriel, becoming responsible revealed his failure to the superior of Ayios Georgios Epanosifis monastery, which belonged to Ayios Georgios Vrahassotis monastery. The Turks were seeking the perpetrator and while examining the disappearance of their messengers they mistreated and tortured the superior of Epanosifis monastery, who was finally pushed to talk out the actual facts.
Several Turkish soldiers surrounded the monastery of Agios Georgios Vrahassotis in an effort to charge superior Gabriel resulting in a deadly battle. In that fight, the stone section that was designed into the belfry, showing St George killing the lion, received a shot. The hole left by the round is visible nowadays on the image.
The Turks were able to capture superior Gabriel and transferred him to Maydani in Heraklion, to send him hanged. Reported by Mr. Kiriakakis, prior to Gabriel’s execution, the hangman questioned the superior the number of Turks he had murdered. Faking he didn’t notice precisely, Gabriel was able to get the hangman get closer to him and by focus his attention he strike and killed him, answering then: ‘I ‘ve killed 99 Turks so far and after this 100’.
Superior Gabriel wasn’t able to escape from his execution and was finally hanged on the well-known oak tree of the great castle. Soon after, the Turks demolished all the components of the monastery, besides the church, seized all the plots of land around it and offered them to public auction.
During the subsequent revolutions, the ruins served repeatedly as a place of refuge for freedom fighter and in 1820 another siege took place, when 18 monks were killed.
After the Cretan Revolution the monastery most of his land ownership was returned back. The monastery closed permanently in 1909.Presently there has been wonderful attempt these days to recover and rebuild the cells of the monastery. This work has provided being successful since there are festivities on St. George’s and St. Dimitrios’ Day by the Vrahassi parish to which the church belongs, even though other events for example weddings or christenings be held occasionally inside the church.
Direct behind monastery of Ayios Georgios Vrachasiotis is a small pass from where you can reach by walking or moving with a suitable vehicle (jeep, quad bike, mountain bike) a beautiful mountain route to the Akilakes forest with great views above Malia and the sea.