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5 reasons why the Byzantine church of the Virgin Mary near Fodele is a great place to visit

Updated: 4 days ago


A picturesque monument is located in a small Cretan valley with orange groves. Find out five reasons that characterise the church of the Virgin Mary (Panagia), near Fodele, and make a visit there unforgettable.


The Byzantine church of the Virgin Mary (Annunciation of the Virgin Mary), near Fodele is depicted. The church is stone built with decorative tiled. The architectural type is cruciform in square, with cupola. The church was built on the site of a former Late Roman Basilica, and two surviving stone built pillars are also visible. Around the church there are orange groves. Photo taken from the west, on November 21, 2021 at 5 pm.
The Byzantine church of the Virgin Mary (Annunciation of the Virgin Mary), Fodele



1. Location: within walking distance from Fodele (1 km to the NNW), the nearby old village, inside a lush natural environment, and around many orange groves. The fragrance of the citrus blossoms is unforgettable.

2. Historical context: located in a fertile small valley, the diachronic route from the northern coast to the inland of central Crete, the place was very significant.

3. Archaeological significance: the man made environment is characterized by the ruins of a former Late Roman Basilica, where the newer Byzantine church of the 11th century was built upon. The church is one of the relative few Byzantine ones of the cruciform architectural type in Crete, which was the dominant type in the Byzantine world. The interior of the church has high quality mural decoration.

4. Management: the church is open to the public every Sunday thanks to the efforts of a member of the local community.

5. Things to do in the area: walk in the village and along the small river and the scenic valley; visit the nearby collection dedicated to the famous painter El Greco, and the monastery of Saint Panteleimon around 5 km to the south; don't miss the opportunity to eat at the taverns of the village.

The church is celebrating on November 21 (Annunciation of the Virgin Mary | Εισόδια της Θεοτόκου).




The Byzantine church of the Virgin Mary on the celebrating day. Locals offered tangerines along with bread blessed in the Mass. Picture taken from the SW, in the afternoon of the November 21, 2021.
The Byzantine church of the Virgin Mary on the celebrating day.


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