Amari was once the capital of Amari province and is located 40km
from the town of Rethymno. It is a typical Cretan mountain
village of 288 inhabitants. The surrounding area is blessed with
a rich fertile soil where fruit trees such as cherry, peach,
plum and apricot proliferate. The history of the village is that
it was thought to have been founded by a colonist of the
Byzantine house of Amari in the Second Byzantine Period or, by a
Venetian lord (Amari). The province of Amari is well known due
to its many picturesque sites and numerous churches and chapels,
many of which display some remarkable Byzantine pictures and
wall paintings (frescoes).
Places to visit:
The church of Agia Anna which boasts some marvellous frescoes that date from 1225 AD; the ruins of a small tower on a hill at the centre of the village; and, 5km from Amari is the impressive Monastery of Asomaton, dedicated to the Taxiarches. Interestingly, since 1927, the Agricultural School of Asomate, mainly concerned the raising of cattle, is housed in one of the buildings of the monastery. It is not known exactly when the monastery was founded but it is believed to have been constructed before the 13th century.
In the church of the monastery are pictures of the Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) dating from 1619 and the Taxiarches which are the works of the Abbot Manassis from 1755. The monastery fell into ruin in 1645 when the Turks invaded and conquered Crete but was progressively rebuilt, especially during the 18th century. During the last 100 years of the Turkish occupation the monastery became a significant educational and spiritual centre.
Near the monastery is a small Byzantine church, Agia Paraskevi and, on the north wall inside the church is a beautiful tomb decorated with frescoes. The church dates from between the 13th and 16th centuries. Finally, at Apodoulou, are some note-worthy Mycenaean tombs to see.