The Monastery of Kera Kardiotissa is located 50km southeast of Heraklion, in a wooded area of North Dikti Range, next to the road leading to the Plateau of Lassithi. This is a historic monastery, after which the nearby settlements of Kera and Ano Kera Kera have been named.
The exact date of its foundation is unknown. It is believed that the establishment of the monastery is connected with the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary, after which it takes its name (Kera means Our Lady), which is today located in the Church of San Alfonso in Rome. The icon was drawn by San Lazaro (9th century) and depicts Panagia (Virgin Mary) holding Jesus. According to the tradition, during the iconoclastic Era, this icon was moved to Constantinople, but returned back miraculously. Moreover, during the Venetian Era, the icon was stolen from a wine merchant and moved to Rome, where it is stored till today. In 1735, the icon was replaced by another one, which is also considered miraculous.