Religious Monuments of Province


The province of Pediada hosts one of the most important religious parks in Crete, with numerous painted temples and deserted monasteries scattered all around. Prominent in number and aesthetic value of monuments is the area around today's Episkopi, which was the seat of the Diocese as its name reveals.

Christ Saviour church at Galifa

On the road connecting the settelments Galifa and Episkopi we meet a small single-room vaulted church dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ. The temple dates back from the 14th century and its interior bears frescoes in poor condition.


Church of Archangel Michael at Episkopi

One of the many churches in the village Episkopi is that of Michael the Archangel. The temple was probably originally dedicated to the Synaxis of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel (celebr. Nov 8), as they both are illustrated with an embossed halo.


Saint George Vourvoulitis church at Kato Astraki

At the highest point of the deserted village Kato Astrakoi we still see the imposing temple of Saint George Vourvoulitis, which unfortunately is now dilapidated. The temple was built on the site of an early Christian Basilica. Next to the church, at the point where we see currently the pipes for the irrigation of the surrounding fields, there was the spring of "holy water of Saint George".


Church of Saint George Kavou

The wider area of Voritsi, province Pediada, was an important center of ascetism especially during the Venetian period. One of the most important monasteries was that of Saint George Kavos (Agios Georgios), which was built on a site with panoramic view. Today one can see the remains of cells and the well preserved church, which has a nave intersected by another.


Saint George church at Apostoli

On November 3rd, every year, Cretans celebrate St. George Methystis (i.e. St George that makes people drunk). On that day they first open the barrels and taste the new wine made of the grapes were collected two months ago. Normally Saint George is celebrated on April 23 every year, but because he was always put in a special place in the hearts of the Greeks they gave the advantage to be honored twice a year.


Lord Christ church at Smari

Very close to the former monastery of Prophet Elias and just below the ancient citadel of Smari, still survives the simple single-nave church dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ the Saviour. The interior bears frescoes dating back from the 14th century. Among the frescoes we still discern scenes from the twelve major Christian feasts of the year, various saints, officiating prelates and Supplication.


Prophet Elijah church at Smari

Below the citadel (Acropol) of Smari there is a water spring and the former small monastery of Prophet Elias (Profitis Ilias). The view from this point to Smari valley is unique and geological formations around the monastery are really impressive. Inside the sanctuary of the temple there is the spring, which obviously watered the ancient city and turned the inhospitable rocky hill to fertile crops.


Saint Paraskevi church at Aitania

A few meters north of Aitania village starts an impressively steep downhill dirt road leading to the church of Agia Paraskevi. Agia Paraskevi is located in a valley of incredible beauty filled with ancient tall cypress trees that dominate throughout the region. Just below the small chapel, before water drilling changed the underwater water level, there was a sping called Lazarakis which has now dried up. The church of Agia Paraskevi, despite its small size has an impressive history.


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