top of page
  • Writer's picturecretanplaces

5 facts about the site and the battle on the Kopsas hill

The chapel of the prophet Elias is located at the top of a hill that dominates the coastal area east of Heraklion. The view from this place is really impressive. But this hill was also a battlefield during the battle of Crete in May 1941.

The north wall of the single nave, vaulted, church of Prophet Elias (Profitis Ilias), whitewashed with blue roof and visible cornerstones. The picture is taken from the NW on the afternoon of the celebrating day, July 20, 2021.
Prophet Elias chapel on the hilltop of Kopsas hill, Anopolis, Heraklion

Location: Overlooking the coastal plain area and the road from Heraklion to the eastern part of the island.

Natural environment: Hill, steep on the eastern slopes.

Manmade environment: Single-nave, barrel vaulted chapel dedicated to prophet Elias.

History: On May 21 & 22, 1941, a Greek company of local newly recruited soldiers fought against a company of German paratroopers. The Greeks won in this case, and this battle was one of the few minor wins of the Allies during the Battle of Crete.

Significance and aftermath: The impugnable by that time German troops in that case lost. The battle was won by the Greeks due a composition of: 1. personal courage, 2. good leadership, and 3. excellent positioning and taking advantage of the local geomorphology, with steep and rocky slopes.

The northern ridge of Kopsas hill is visible, with the sea to the north, the coastal strip and Dia island further away
The view to the sea from the hilltop

For more about the history of the place read our article about five lessons learned by the battle there.


bottom of page