The Arkadi Monastery is situated 23 km from Rethymno. According to tradition, the monastery of Arkadi was founded by the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius, and the construction begun by Emperor Arcadius in the 5th century AD from which he took the name of the monastery.

The church is located in the center of the square floor plan of the complex around which grow the facilities of the monastery, the monk cells and chapels.

Arkadi Monastery is a historic symbol of the revolution of 1866-1869 in which Kostis Giamboudakis from the village of Adele, during the siege by the Turks, fired the ammunition of the gunpowder works of the monastery and blew up the whole complex, choosing death rather than slavery.  This event turned it into eternal symbol of freedom for Cretan people and for all Greece.