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Crete's Lasithi Prefecture Overview continued Page Fifiteen

Monastery of Toplu between Sitia and Vai

The Icon by Ioannis Kornaros O Lord Thou Art GreatThis fortified monastery houses one of the greatest works of Orthodox Greek art in Crete:

The Icon by Ioannis Kornaros O Lord Thou Art Great.

Behind its forbidding exterior you'll see how the monks really lived in a serene world of stone walled cloisters and flower filled courtyards (9am - 1pm, 2pm - 6pm daily, fee, tel: 28430) The monastery has undergone extensive repairs over the last few years. It was built in the 14th C and dedicated to the Birth of the Virgin and St. John the Theologian. Subsequently under the Venetians it acquired its fortifications. In 1646 the Turks captured it and devastated it for harboring rebels and it suffered again during the war of Independence in 1821.

Vai Beach

the beach at vaiA gorgeous beach (left) with silver sand famous for its palm trees, which are a species unique to Crete (Phoenix theophrastii) and Europe's only wild palm trees.

There is also a banana plantation here! A place that gets mobbed in summer.

To avoid the worst of all that, move onto to the smaller beaches to the north, which also have a few palms and the option of camping out.

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