Islands of Crete



Thodorou Islet
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The island of Agioi Theodoroi or Thodorou and located just opposite of the beach of Platanias in Chania, just half a mile northern. The history of the island and its ecological importance in preserving the protected species of the Cretan wild goat, make this small dot on the map very important.

The island is rocky and has an area of 697 acres, while its maximum length reaches 3800m. Apart from the island, there is a second islet next to Thodorou, called Glaraki. Generally, locals refer to the 2 islands by naming both of them simply 'Theodorou'. In the southern part of the island, there is a large arched cave, which makes the island from afar look like a monster with open mouth..

The island, despite its size has a rich history and legends to tell us. Over the centuries, it has changed various names. It was originally called Akytos or Akoition (i.e. insuitable for habitation). It has also been recorded as Letoa or Toullouros. Its present name was given after the three-aisled church of Saint Theodore, which is destroyed today. It was an early Christian Church and was dedicated to Saint Theodore, the commander. There are still some ruins of the church on the island. During the Minoan period the island was a sacred asylum.

Much later, in 1574, Venetians built a fortress to protect the whole area of Platanias from any hostile invasion. In just one year, the Venetians managed to build a polygonal fortress at the top of the island (named Turluru) and a second one in a lower laver (named St. Theodore or S. Francesco, by the local Church). The cost of the castles reached the enormous amount of 21,500 ducats, although there were many Cretans who were forced to drudgery. Then, Venetians were planning to build a third fort in the north part of Thodorou, but changed their mind later.

In 1645, Turks attacked against the island and occupied it, after a heroic battle against the 70 defenders of the fortress. When Turks managed to enter the castle, the head of the guards, Vlassios, in order not to surrender to Turks, set fire to the arsenal and blew all the guards and the Turks that had entered the fort.

In 1650 the island returned to Venetian rule until 1699, when it was turned in to Turks, 30 years after the fall of Candia. The island fell into the hands of Cretans, after the liberation of Crete.

In 1897, a force of the Greek army, led by Timoleon Vassos, went on the island, despite the menacing presence of warships of the Great Powers.

Today, the two forts and the Church of Saint Theodore, unfortunately, are totally destroyed and only a few remains remind of its past.

The myth of the creation of Thodorou

Thodorou could not be ignored by the folk legends, especially once the cave on the south side of the island, makes it looks like a monster mouth. It is noteworthy to mention that the locals often refer to the island, as the "Monster."

Many legends are told about the creation of the two islands. The most common story says that in early Christian times, the island did not exist at all. One day, the residents saw a huge monster and it baby, approaching Crete, ready to attack. According to some myths, it was a giant bear with its baby.

Then, locals began to throw spears and arrows from afar to kill them, but it kept its furious route to the coast. The terrified women began to pray in Agia Marina and Agios Georgios to survive. Their prayers to saints were heard and both monsters were petrified, creating the islands of Saint Theodore, Thodorou and Glaraki. The monster was petrified with its mouth open, threatening to devour Cretans.

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