Kerá Kardiotissas Monastery

Iraklio Province

Continuing on from the Aposelemis Dam takes you to Kerá, home to one of Crete’s most cherished monasteries, the Panagia Kardiotissa. Its teensy chapel is embellished with 14th-century frescoes depicting scenes from the life of Christ and the Virgin, but locals especially venerate an 18th-century icon of the Virgin and Child. Legend has it that the Turks spirited it three times to Constantinople, but it miraculously returned each time, despite being chained to a marble pillar.

You’ll find the icon on the left of the iconostasis (the wall that separates the nave from the sanctuary), next to the chains (you will see the devout wrap themselves in these chains and kiss the icon); the marble pillar is outside. There’s also a small museum with religious paraphernalia.

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