Veni is the name of a hill near Pantanassa Village in Amari Municipality, featuring the richest flora and fauna all over Rethymno Prefecture, in central Crete. At the top of the hill, stands the deserted Church of Agios Antonios, which comes under Arkadi Monastery.
The location of the church, which was built during the Byzantine Era, offers magnificent views towards both the valley and Psiloritis (Idi) Mountain. The church is built in a deep cavity, divided in two parts. Worshiping took place at the deepest end of the cavernous temple. There are some impressive basins built from earth inside the cave, filled with what is thought to be holy water dripping from the ceiling. The construction was linked to religious rituals that were inherited to Christians by the Minoans. The Minoans not only knew this location, but used it to perform sacrifices and worship their gods. In the church yard, there are well preserved old monk cells, as well as ruins of building dated back to the Venetian period. Along the path to the church there are beautiful fountains and many trees offering shade. During the Venetian Era, the legendary family of Chortatzis, known all over Crete for its revolutionary action, used this place as “headquarters”, much like various local families did during the Turkish Domination. Yet, the Turks found out about the secret meetings and burned the place down several times to prevent them.
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