In the middle of the distance of Heraklion and Rethymnon and just before reaching Bali, right on the highway we meet the church of Panagia (Our Lady) Charakiani. It is the largest pilgrimage in the entire prefecture of Rethymnon. During the first 15 days of August many people gather here, especially on the old days, and stayed in small huts around the temple till the day of the Dormition of Mary during which the small church celebrates.
Panagia Charakiani belongs to the nearby Monastery Attali at Bali and there is evidence that in the past centuries it was a small convent. Before the highway construction, the church was very secluded and access was hard. In the valley that lies just south of the temple there is a large rock that stands out from far and there, in the root of the rock, it is said that a shephered once found the miraculous icon of Panagia. The rock is called Charakas and therefore the church was named Charakiani.
The church dates back from the Venetian period as at the front side of the church there is the family crest of Kallergis, which is also found in other churches of the same period in the region. The interior is adorned with modern frescoes of saints, most of who originate from Crete.