As you go up to the main town via the wide stone steps from the port, you will come across part of the wall that surrounded the town in ancient times. On your right in the first square of the town lies the island’s modern Orthodox Cathedral, Evangelismos (Annunciation). Nearby is the church dedicated to Saint Ekaterini where in 1903 an excavation unearthed the remnants of Byzantine foundations and the ruins of an ancient temple dedicated to Apollo. Christians built the Byzantine Cathedral over these ruins, and the altar actually rests upon two of the temple’s columns.
In Mylopotas, Panaghia Gremiotissa (Our Lady of the Cliffs) was built during the Turkish occupation. According to legend, an icon of the Virgin was found on the rocks of Mylopotas’ seashore, which the inhabitants of Crete had thrown the icon in the open sea to protect it from Turkish hands. The icon was then taken to the church of the Holy Cross, but only to be found again the following morning on the same steep mountainside. When the islanders tried to build a new church for the icon, but not on the exact spot where it had been found because of its inaccessibility, the foundation stones of the church kept disappearing every day miraculously. Only then the islanders understood that the icon had chosen that exact spot as this was the location had a distinct view of Crete. The view from here is exceptional.
From the square of the windmills in Mylopotas, follow the narrow path up to the church of the prophet Elijah (Profitis Elias). This is a path of 500 meters with great views of Hora and Mylopotas. During periods of water shortage, a procession with icons and banners heads along this path towards the church.
Photo cover: www.discovergreece.com