Religious monuments of Crete


Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Halepa
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The temple of Saint Maria Magdalene is located in Chalepa, the noble district of Chania that flourished in the 19th century, when Eleftherios Venizelos who lived here emerged as the most important leader of modern Greece. The church is built on Elena Venizelou Square, that hosts also the church of Saint John the Baptist, the Catholic Church of the Virgin Mary, the small Palace of Prince George, the house of Eleftherios Venizelos and the "Eleftherios Venizelos" Research Foundation.

The church erection started in 1901 with the financial sponsorship of 10,000 rubles from the Grand Duke of Russia, George, in memory of the residence of Maria, his sister and wife of the ruler of Crete, Prince George, in Chania. It was inaugurated on January 6, 1903 in the presence of Queen of Greece, Olga, and was used as the formal temple of Prince George. After Prince George's departure from Crete in 1909, the church became a dependency of the Municipality of Chania.

The designs were sent by Russian architects following the standards of the Russian Orthodox churches. It is a nearly square building with the three-sided arch of the sanctuary protruding. The temple is built with large porches and decorative bricks, on an elevated level. To the west, with an archway of peculiar pillars, a peristyle is formed in the shape of inverted Π. The church has sloping roofs on two levels raising to a Russian-style dome.

Inside the temple consists of a square space covered by a hemispherical dome without a drum. The icons of the temple have been narrated by the iconographer Fotis Kontoglou.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Chania Prefecture
  • Type: Church
  • Peak Period: Cretan State - Autonomous Era (1898-1913)
  • Accessibility: Bus services, Paved road
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