Rethymno – Prasses
This is a relatively short route, ideal to see the villages that are spread over the northern foot of mount Vrissinas. The road from Rethymno climbs upwards towards the picturesque settlement of Mikra Anogia and Agia Irini where a monastery with the same name is situated, dated back in 1362. In 1995, the monastery was awarded the Europa Nostra European Preservation and Renovation for Architectural Monuments Award. Today brims with spirituality being a community of ten nuns, occupied with hagiography, weaving and embroidery. In the monastery there is also an ecclesiastical museum.
A little further on, at Roussospiti, a wonderful Venetian fountain is preserved from the 17th century and the Byzantine church of the Virgin Mary with many interesting murals. Right next to the church is situated the most characteristic of the Venetian houses that are preserved to the village.
The route from here leads to the small, green gorge of Mili and climbs up to the village Chromonastiri, where the magnificent Villa Clodio is situated, called also “Konaki”, as it served as an official residence during the ottoman domination, as well as other Venetian buildings.There are also situated the Byzantine churches of Panagia Kera and Agios Eftichios with frescoes from the 11th and 14th century, which are considered as the oldest known murals in Crete. Shortly after the village, a dirt road leads to Prases.
Prasses maintain the Venetian architecture married to the lush natural landscape. In the village, the remains of three “koule” (ottoman forts) are identified. One of them, near the River Dam and the Sima Bridge, is one of the monumental attractions that along with the Venetian buildings of the village spark the attention of the visitor as well as the old Venetian aqueduct with its fountains. The road then meets the provincial road of Rethymno-Amari.