Monasteries at isolated locations around the island.

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Often you will see, built against a mountain side, one of the many monasteries of the island of Crete. It is difficult to get there and therefore very quietly situated, like many monasteries in remote areas.

Despite this, the isolation is not as bad as it seems. When there are no tourists around, you still have visiting family members and locals for social contact or spiritual advice and guidance.

An important issue in the history of monasteries is the fact that during temporary occupation of the Turks, around 1669, the monasteries made sure the Greek culture and language were kept. Everything was forbidden by the Turks; one was not allowed to speak their own language, practice their own religion or worship their own icons. On top of that everyone had to convert to the Islam. In most cases this was pretended but at home people secretly prayed at their own icons.

The monasteries also served as a school; at night the monks lectured the children of the area. They were called shelter schools and so the language and culture were passed on. This lasted until 1855 when freedom of religion returned.