The Hermitages of Agiofarago

St Anthony

Heraklion

Saint Anthony Church at Agiofarago
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The name of the gorge Agiofaraggo means “Saints’ gorge” and indicates that it was used by many hermits who stayed here because of the isolation of the area. According to a legend, three hundred hermits lived here in absolute isolation from each other. They met only once a year at “Goumenospilio” and then they were aware of those who had died the previous year.

The gorge is bounded by rising huge vertical rocks at its both sides, where there are many caves. Agiofarago is very scenic and picturesque, accessed only on foot. The place is isolated, wild and rugged. All this with the fact that it is too far from populated areas made Agiofarago the first center of ascetic life not only of the region but of the whole Crete, in the earliest Christian times.

Going down the canyon and about 250 meters before the beach, you reach the church of St. Anthony which was a monastery and the center of the asceticism of the area. The church of Saint Anthony is believed to have been renovated three times to get its current form. First was a small church in a small cave in the rock but as the years passed and the growing number of ascetics larger church was needed and it became bigger. The last renovation was done in the 14th or 15th century and it is the present church. It's of excellent technical architecture and had murals but because of proximity to the sea, the murals have been destroyed.

Outside the church there is a well from which water is supplied to the hermits because there is no nearby source. South of the church on a small hill there is a circular Minoan tomb which shows the human presence from Minoan era. Descending from the Church to the sea on the left side and a short distance from the church there is Goumenospilios.

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Additional Info

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

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