The village of Agia Varvara in Crete
Agia Varvara is a village of around 2,000 inhabitants, 30km southwest of Heraklion town and situated on the main road to Phaestos and Tympaki. It is an agricultural area with many shops selling agricultural products. Santa Varvara and its neighbouring villages of Panasos, Gergeri and Nyvritos are renowned for the cultivation of very good quality cherries. Interesting things to see in and around Agia Varvara include the Apanosifis Monastery dedicated to St. George. This monastery was thought to have been built during the Venetian occupation in around 1600. During the Turkish occupation the monastery became a spiritual centre but was destroyed in the 19th century during the War of Independence however, it was, thankfully, rebuilt. The main church was damaged by an earthquake in 1856 but has been restored. Inside are some precious Holy relics of gospels, silver crosses and vestments. Close to Agia Varvara, in the village of Prinias, are the remnants of the ancient city of Rizenia. Excavations have revealed two archaic temples and findings also include carved representations of human figures and animals which are now exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Herakleion.