Panagia Church at



Panagia Church at Martsalo
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At the start of the route in Martsalo Gorge you will meet the scenic church of Panagia Martsaliani, dedicated to the Annunciation to the blessed Mary. The church, built in a cave, was used as a catacomb at the time of Christian persecutions. Just a few centuries earlier, it came back to light by chance, when a shepherd found it and realized that it was hidden by rocks. An icon of the Annunciation was then found, which is now kept in the monastery of Panagia Odigitria at Sivas, where the church belongs to.

When the church celebrates on August 15, many visitors come from the Mesara Plain to Martsalo. The rocks of the cave are full of icons and an impressive dome hangs from the roof of the cave. The chapel is believed to have been built on the site of a Minoan tomb, as it has a strange conical shape that reminds of an oven, like the Minoan domed tombs.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Heraklion Prefecture
  • Type: Church
  • Accessibility: Walking

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