The monastery of Savatiana or Savvathiana is located in a beautiful wooded and well-protected position near Rogdia, at an altitude of 440m and at a distance of 20km west of the city of Heraklion. The monastery is one of the several monasteries that operated in the area during the Venetian period, which was later mercilessly destroyed by the Turks.
Savvathiana monastery is built on a naturally fortified position, possibly in order to protect the monks from the constant pirate raids before the Venetian period. During the Venetian Occupation of Crete it should have been the strongest monastery in the wider area, even stronger than the famous monastery of Agia Pelagia that operated on the north side of the beach of Agia Pelagia, which later became a dependency of Savatiana.
From the entrance of the monastery starts a beautiful path, smothered in vegetation, leading to the monastery. Very near the monastery, just 200m, you can visit the cavernous church of St. Anthony, which probably once operated as a separate monastery. The church has a second newer aisle, dedicated to Saint Savvas. It is accessed through a scenic trail with a very old stone bridge. The main temple of Savatiano is relatively new and is dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin Mary and the Forty Martyrs. The monastery has been renovated in the recent years, but without losing its style. Inside the complex, you can also see the cemetery of the monastery, the ossuary, a former mill, the dining room of the visitors, the old guest room, the nuns’ cells and the old water tower of the monastery.
The monastery operates as a nunnery. It hosts the very old icon of “Great are You, Lord” painted by Ioannis Kornaros, and a copy of which still exists in Toplou Monastery. The icon was considered lost till 1991, when the Archaeological Authorities cleared a pitch-black icon and revealed the old painting.
Among the abbots of the monastery, was Maximos Marnounios, a very well known scholar of the Venetian Era. Also in Savatiana, there are the tombs of two major rebels against the Turks, Evmenios Vourexakis and Iraklis Kokkinidis.