Further west along the coast road is Adele, a small traditional
village 8km away from the town of Rethymno. The flatland area
between the sea and the village is Adeleanos Kambos, with many
luxury hotels along the seafront.
From Adele itself, a road leads to the historic monastery of Arkardi which is famous for the massacre that took place here on 7 November 1866, now known as the Holocaust of Arkadi . It was in the monastery that almost 2500 Greek men, women and children were besieged by the Turks and, rather than surrender, they all chose to blow themselves up by igniting the gunpowder magazine,
The Byzantine monastery of Arkadi lies 22km south-east of Rethymno and was one of the most important centres of the Cretan resistance during the years of the Turkish occupation. It is built at the far end of a fertile area which has an open vista towards the sea in one direction and the surrounding mountains in the other, it is thought that the first fortified group of buildings of the monastery was built in the 14th BC by a monk named Arcadios who gave his name to it.
At the north-west part of the area are the ruins of the first monastery. The church, which stands in the middle of the fortification enclosure, was built in 1587 and has a magnificent baroque frontage. At its zenith, the monastery had a fabulous collection of books and manuscripts and many ancient Greek manuscripts were transcribed here. Unfortunately, in 1645, the monastery and nearly all the library were destroyed by the Turks. However, it was eventually rebuilt and granted some privileges by the Turks and, despite the imposition of high taxes, managed to prosper again. In 1700 the monastery had a population of 300 monks as well as 200 large jars full of wine. Over time, Greek resistance to the Turks began to grow and the monastery became a hiding place for revolutionaries where provisions and munitions were stockpiled. Because of this, and also its strategic position, it became a target for the Turks and, in the 1866 revolution many battles occurred there between the Turkish army of Mustapha Pasha (which comprised 15,000 soldiers) and the Greek revolutionaries, peasants, monks, women and children who were all taking refuge there. Despite the heroic efforts of the Greeks, the monastery was captured after a siege that lasted for two days. However, rather than submit to surrender, the Greeks blew up the monastery and themselves with it. Since that time, Arkadi has become a symbol of the struggle for liberation and, today, most of the monastery's buildings date from the beginning of the 18th century with many of them, including the powder magazine, having been rebuilt after 1866.
The museum attached to the monastery houses a collection of paintings, church utensils, weapons and revolutionary heirlooms.
From the monastery a road leads eastwards towards the village of Eleftherna and Archaia Eleftherna, where you can see the remains of this ancient town. A short distance further inland is the fertile valley of Amari which boasts many attractive Byzantine churches. .